Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum released the Oregon Department of Justice’s annual list of Top Ten Consumer Complaints. In 2018, the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline received 38,000 phone calls, which resulted in more than 7,000 written complaints, running the gamut from telecommunications to medical services and products. For the first time, towing is a new category to make the list.
“Each year our annual top ten list changes, but our general advice stays the same. The best way to stay safe is to just hang up the phone on telephone scammers, and if something seems too good to be true, it probably is! Today’s scammers are quick, sophisticated, and will take your money in a few seconds if they can. Be on the look-out for any suspicious deals, or if something does not seem right. Scammers are everywhere you are—they will reach through email, text, the phone or a knock on your door. Our hotline is open on weekdays, and available to assist Oregonians who need help,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.
Download the top list of 2018 complaints here
2. Auto – Sales & Repair
3. Fraudulent Entity
5. Real Estate / Property Management
6. Travel Services / Products
10. Medical Services / Products
Towing includes consumers who were wrongfully towed, or where there was not proper signage by the towing company. Oregon DOJ recently resolved a consumer complaint from a Beaverton man whose car was illegally towed from a parking spot that he was paying for and his vehicle was damaged in the process. After the consumer filed a complaint, the towing company, Sergeants, agreed to pay him $2,500 to compensate him.
To combat the growing incidences of illegal towing this legislative session Attorney General Rosenblum introduced Senate Bill 548 to create an Oregon Board of Towing. This board, comprised of members of the towing industry, law enforcement, consumer advocates and relevant agencies, would address complaints and conduct investigations related to the towing of vehicles, and impose disciplinary action when needed.
To learn more about your rights and what to do if your car is towed, please visit the Oregon Department of Justice’s website at https://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer-protection/motor-vehicles/towing/.
For the second year in a row, travel related complaints also topped the list. Consumers should remember that when they book online, a website may not know if all of the rooms are booked. During peak season, a consumer should contact the hotel or vacation rental directly and get confirmation in writing that the hotel room or rental is available. It is always advisable to book directly with the hotel.
Oregon has one of the most robust consumer education and prevention programs in the country. It focuses on elder abuse, as well as scams directed at Oregonians whose first language is other than English.
If you think you have fallen victim to a fraud or scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or call our hotline at 1-877-877-9392.