AG Coffman Kicks Off National Consumer Protection Week Unveiling the Top 10 Consumer Complaints and Inquiries in Colorado
In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman today unveiled the list of the top ten consumer complaints reported to her office in 2016. During the 2016 calendar year, consumers filed 8,707 complaints and inquiries with the Consumer Protection Section of the Office of the Attorney General.
“Protecting Coloradans from fraudsters, scam artists and criminals that target consumers is a top priority of my office,” said Attorney General Coffman. “Our Consumer Protection Section is here to serve the people, not only through prevention and education efforts, but by reviewing complaints and enforcing the law when consumers have been harmed. I would encourage all consumers to contact us if they think they have been a victim of fraud.”
The top 10 types of complaints and inquiries received in 2016 include:
Type of Complaint or Inquiry Amount
1. Debt Collection Companies 977
These include disputes about whether debt is owed and the amount of the debt owed, as well as claims of harassment and other problematic conduct by debt collectors.
2. Utility Complaints (cable, telecom and satellite) 404
These complaints include billing disputes, service or coverage issues, rate changes, and cancellation and termination issues.
3. Fraudulent or Unwanted Telephone Calls 402
These include complaints about phony IRS tax collection scams, and other imposter scams, including tech support scams and phony debt collection scams.
4. Automobile Dealers, New and Used 353
These complaints relate to misrepresentations about the condition of used cars, loss of trade-in vehicles that are sold by the dealer before financing is approved, warranty issues, title issues, and general advertising issues. This also includes complaints relating to the Volkswagen emissions scandal the Attorney General settled last summer.
5. Mortgage Lenders 319
These involve loan modification and foreclosure issues, including complaints that lenders or servicers renege on modification offers, delay modification approval while initiating foreclosure, as well as some complaints involving short sales and other loss mitigation problems.
6. Schools – Academic College & Universities 181
Most of these involve student complaints about for-profit colleges, including amount of tuition, loan repayment, and closure of colleges or programs.
7. Fraudulent or Unwanted/Spam Email 117
These complaints include unsolicited offers of sweepstakes, phishing attempts, and not being removed from email lists when they try to unsubscribe.
8. Timeshare Resellers 116
Most of these involve consumers trying to sell their timeshare interests who pay money to a company that claims it has buyers, only to learn that those claims are false.
9. Telephone (cell phones and equipment) 95
These complaints include billing disputes, service or coverage issues, rate changes, and cancellation and termination issues and fees.
10. Publishers – Books & Magazines 93
These almost all concern direct mail magazine subscriptions where consumers either pay for a subscription they did not receive, or that they were already receiving, or where consumers simply believed that the solicitation was deceptive.
A number of the complaints involve businesses and individuals against whom the Attorney General has brought enforcement actions, including CashCall, Inc., HSBC, 123 Mountain.com Inc., Alex Carpets, LLC, and Highlands Resorts at Christie Lodge, LLC. A comprehensive case list can be found on the Colorado Attorney General’s Office consumer protection website at www.stopfraudcolorado.gov/our-cases.
StopFraudColorado.gov contains comprehensive resources and information for consumers, and is designed to meet the demand for timely, credible information on scams, to help victims, and to encourage consumers to report fraud. The site makes it easier for Coloradans to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, and streamlines the process for filing fraud reports. If you believe you have been defrauded or victimized by a Colorado business or nonprofit, file a report online or by calling 1-800-222-4444.