DENVER- Today in recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, the Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman unveiled her list of the top ten consumer complaints of 2017. During the 2017 calendar year, consumers filed 9,146 complaints and inquiries with the Consumer Protection Section of the Office of the Attorney General, a 5% increase over the 2016 total.
“My office is committed to protecting consumers from deceptive or predatory business practices and fraud, and it is particularly despicable when these scammers use threats to intimidate their victims,” said Attorney General Coffman. “Our Consumer Protection Section continues to see an increase in debt collection complaints, including disputes about whether debt is owed and the amount of debt owed, as well as claims of harassment and other problematic conduct by debt collectors. My office reviews every complaint we receive, and when we find that any business or individual has violated state law, we will not hesitate to take action to protect Coloradans.”
The top 10 types of complaints and inquiries received in 2017 are:
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. Fraudulent or Unwanted Telephone Calls 587
These include complaints about phony IRS tax collection scams, and other imposter scams, including tech support scams and phony debt collection scams.
3. Utility Complaints (cable, telcom and satellite) 341
These include billing disputes, service or coverage issues, rate changes, and cancellation and termination issues.
4. Automobile Dealers, New and Used 211
These include complaints that 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.
5. Contractors 211
These include complaints about general home-repair, remodeling, and other general contractor complaints relating to service, workmanship, and billing.
6. Mortgage and Foreclosure Matters 188
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.
7. Internet Shopping – Personal Care Products 122
These involve complaints relating to negative option billing disputes, service and delivery issues, along with cancellation and termination issues.
8. Schools – Academic College & Universities 120
Most of these involve student complaints about for-profit colleges, including amount of tuition, loan repayment, and closure of colleges or programs.
9. Telephone (cell phones and equipment) 109
These complaints include billing disputes, service or coverage issues, rate changes, and cancellation and termination issues and fees.
10. Fraudulent / Unwanted Email 103
These complaints include unsolicited offers of sweepstakes, phishing attempts, and not being removed from email lists when they try to unsubscribe.
A number of the complaints involve businesses and individuals against whom the Attorney General has already brought enforcement actions. Publicity about a case, or information sought for purposes of restitution, often result in the filing of additional reports and inquiries. For a comprehensive case list please visit StopFraudColorado.gov.
StopFraudColorado.gov is a website for the Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Section that is designed to meet the demand for timely, credible information on scams, help victims, and encourage consumers to report fraud. It emphasizes consumer protection outreach and makes it easier for Coloradans to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, while streamlining the process for filing fraud reports.
If you believe you have been defrauded or victimized by a Colorado business or nonprofit, file a report here or by calling 1-800-222-4444.