Our TODAY’S TMJ4 Call 4 Action office handled a lot of consumer complaints in 2019, and they expect 2020 to be a busy year as well.
Here are the top 10 complaints in 2019:
· Robo Calls/Phone Scams – Especially with scammers claiming to be with Social Security
· Landlord/Tenant Issues
· Online Scams – Romance scams, fake rentals, fake travel websites, fake employment offers
· Bad Contractors – Shoddy work and contractors who did not finish the job
· Medical Billing
· Telecommunications – billing and service issues
· Employment – Scams and employers who did not pay employees
· Identity Theft
· Auto Repair
· Retailers – problems with overcharges, returns of defective products, store closings
It is no surprise that robo calls and scam calls topped the list as the most common complaint. But, online scams, and contractors who did not finish the job were also near the top, and these types of complaints proved to be the most costly and frustrating for consumers.
Many online scams involved imposters posing as someone who claimed to be madly in love with a vulnerable consumer, someone with the perfect apartment at the perfect price, or a fake employer with a job offer that was too good to be true. Some consumers got into trouble because they let their emotions control their decisions and sent money or provided personal information without meeting people face to face.
To avoid getting taken, consumers need to be extremely careful about anyone who asks for money or other forms of payment without meeting face to face. Scammers are very good at pulling at emotions of loneliness, fear, desperation, and getting rich quick. Slow down, check things out and think before trusting what someone is telling you online or by phone.
Before you hire a contractor, make sure to get references, check out consumer and circuit court sites for complaints on the business or owner, get a signed, detailed contract with the street address for the contractor, phone number, estimated start and completion dates, and do not pay in full until the work is done to your complete satisfaction.
Never be too ashamed, embarrassed, or intimidated to ask for help. Our Call 4 Action volunteers will do whatever they can to listen, provide resources, and mediation of consumer related issues.