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Top 10 Oregon business complaint list

March 14, 2012

The most common complaints filed by Oregon consumers in 2011.
By Oregon Attorney General

The Top 10 Consumer Complaints for 2011 include telemarketing calls, telecommunications, international money transfer scams, financial services, homeownership issues, collection agencies, motor vehicle sales, internet sales, health products, and auto repair companies.  Highlights from the Top 10 Consumer Complaint List for 2011.

Telemarketing

This is the first time in five years that an industry other than telecommunications ranked #1 on Oregon’s Top 10 Consumer Complaint List. With 1,341 written complaints, Oregon consumers want to silence a recent surge in unwanted telemarketing calls. The increase in complaints is largely due to a group calling itself “Card Services,” that uses a prerecorded message claiming it can help reduce credit card interest rates. Since 2009 almost any telemarketing call delivering a prerecorded message has been illegal.

In addition to violating the rule against prerecorded messages, “Card Services” neither displays the true number from which it is calling nor adheres to the national “Do Not Call List,” routinely contacting registered Oregonians. Of the 1,341 telemarketing complaints 1,285 claimed a violation of the “Do Not Call List.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received an additional 40,141 complaints from Oregonians regarding “Do Not Call List” violations, up from 23,000 complaints in 2010. The FTC has filed several lawsuits against Card Services and more are expected. For more information or to file a complaint, please call 1-888-382-1222 or visit www.donotcall.gov.Most legitimate telemarketing firms do not contact people registered with the “Do Not Call List.” Anyone can register up to 5 phone numbers for the “Do Not Call List” at www.donotcall.gov.

Telecommunications

Historically complaints against the telecommunications and financial services industries have been first and second on the Top Ten Consumer Complaint List. The typical complaint alleges routine bill miscalculation; inaccurate representations of services and products; and, illegitimate bill collection attempts. In 2011, 1,187 complaints regarding the telecommunications were filed with the Department, with satellite TV providers receiving the majority of complaints, followed by cellular service providers and internet service providers.

International Money Transfer Scams

Last year Oregonians reported losing $1,016,583 due to international money scams. Many, if not most, Oregonians who fall victim to these scams do not contact the Oregon Department of Justice so it’s likely that the 908 complaints received only hint at the problem. International money scams often include:

– Offers that are too good to be true (be aware of items advertised at massively reduced price tags on Craigslist and other internet sites)
– Phone calls/emails claiming to be from friends or family stranded in an emergency circumstance needing money wired immediately
– “Debt collection” calls claiming law enforcement personnel will take action immediately if money is not immediately paid for what turns out to be fake or illegitimate debt
– Lottery, vacation and other prize offers that request money to be paid prior to redemption
– Notification of a large inheritance from a recently deceased – and until then unknown – relative that requires the sharing of sensitive financial information (such as bank account numbers) or a payment upfront to cover the cost of taxes or other fees
– Requests to make payments through money wire transfers or Green Dot credit cards

Home Ownership Issues

Complaints about homeownership issues fell slightly to 832 from 1,002 the previous year. Oregon is one of 49 states, including New York and California, that signed on to an agreement with the nation’s five largest banks that will provide roughly $25 billion in relief to resolve a multistate investigation of fraudulent and flawed foreclosure practices. This agreement penalizes banks that engaged in wrongful conduct, brings badly needed assistance to distressed homeowners and will help reverse the housing market’s downward slide.

The most up-to-date information about the settlement and homeowner eligibility is available at the official website: www.nationalforeclosuresettlement.com. However, Oregonians who believe they may be eligible for relief under this settlement are encouraged to sign up at www.oregonattorneygeneral.gov/homeowners.

Oregon Consumer Complaints – Calendar Year 2011
OREGON DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Top 10 Consumer Complaints 2011

#1 Telemarketing Calls 1,341

#2 Telecommunications 1,187
– Satellite TV 315
– Cellular 246
– Internet Service Provider 197
– Bundled Services 129
– Long Distance 93
– Local Phone Service 59
– Cable TV 41

#3 Int’l Money Transfer Schemes 908
$1,016,583 reported losses.

723 uncashed counterfeit items totaling $6,836,175.

#4 Financial Services 845
– Credit Cards 229
– Investment Activities 129
– Commercial Banking 122
– Sales Financing 89
– Debt Reduction Services 80
– Credit Bureaus 60
– Payday / Title Loans 43
– Consumer Lending 40

#5 Home Ownership Issues 832
– Real Estate Credit 524
– Loan Modifiers 130
– Loan Servicers 123
– Mortgage Brokers 35
– Foreclosure Rescue 10
– Equity Buyers 10

#6 Collection Agencies 727

#7 Motor Vehicle Sales 656
– New Car Dealers 238
– Selling new cars 142
– Selling used cars 96
– Used Car Dealers 334
– RV, Trailer, Campers 60
– Motorcycles 15

#8 Internet Sales 371

#9 Health Related 358
– Physicians 63
– Food Supplements 45
– Medical Products 33
– Hospitals 32
– Pharmacies / Drug Stores 27
– Dentists 25
– Medical Discount Cards 12

#10 Auto Repair 198

NOTE: This Press Release trimmed/edited for size, brevity

  
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