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State releases Top 10 consumer complaints — and what you can do about them

Home repair tops list for second consecutive year; used car complaints increase

In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Monday announced his office’s list of Top 10 consumer complaints for 2019.

For the second year in a row, complaints related to home repairs and remodeling topped the list, after years of debt-related complaints being the most frequently received by the Attorney General’s office.

Last year, the Attorney General’s Office received 18,699 complaints from individuals who wrote or emailed the office, and home repair and remodeling complaints ranked first, with 2,001 complaints. Used automotive sales complaints rose to second with 1,767 complaints, with consumer debt complaints ranking third at 1,602 complaints. The Attorney General’s Office also received complaints from thousands of additional individuals who called or visited the office in person.

“Throughout the year, and particularly during Consumer Protection Week, I urge people to be informed consumers, which means exercising vigilance and knowing the hallmarks of a scam,” Raoul said. “With an increase of complaints related to buying used cars, I encourage anyone thinking about purchasing a used vehicle to visit my office’s website to find valuable tips before spending thousands of dollars on a car.”

Used automobile complaints have been on the rise in the past few years. In 2017, they ranked seventh before rising to fifth in 2018 and second in 2019. Consumers contacted the Attorney General’s office for a variety of reasons, ranging from as-is sales to financing and warranty issues. Raoul encourages consumers to research dealerships before making any payments or signing contracts and to visit the Attorney General’s website for more information about consumers’ rights and tips to help avoid automotive fraud.

Raoul’s annual Top 10 list of consumer complaints ranks every complaint his office receives on a range of topics. The Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Bureau saved consumers more than $30 million through litigation and mediation in 2019. In addition to home repair and remodeling and used vehicle sales, complaints about consumer debt, such as mortgage loans, debt collection and complaints related to bank accounts and other banking services topped the list.

1. Construction/Home Improvement (remodeling, roofs and gutters, heating and cooling, plumbing) 2,001
2. Motor Vehicle/Used Auto Sales (as-is used cars, financing, advertising, warranties) 1,767
3. Consumer Debt (residential mortgage lending, banks/financial institutions, collection agencies) 1,602
4. Identity Theft (credit cards, data breaches, utilities, government document fraud) 1,524
5. Telecommunications (cable and satellite TV, telemarketing, cell phones, phone service and repairs) 1,345
6. Promotions/Schemes (phone scams, lottery scams, investment schemes, phishing) 1,297
7. Internet/Mail Order Products (internet and catalog purchases, TV and radio advertising) 937
8. Education (student loan debt, for profit schools) 888
9. Motor Vehicle/Non-Warranty Repair (collision, engines, oil changes and tune-ups) 725
10. Motor Vehicle/New Auto Sales (financing, defects, advertising) 704

For more information, visit Raoul’s website or contact his office about consumer fraud issues.

Identity Theft Unit
1-866-999-5630 (TTY: 1-877-844-5461)

Student Loan Helpline

Consumer Fraud Hotlines
1-800-386-5438 (Chicago), 1-800-243-0618 (Springfield) or 1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale)

Homeowner Helpline

Spanish Language Hotline

PHOTO: Attorney General Kwayme Raoul testifying before the Legislature earlier this year. File

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