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Telemarketing complaints to state dropped for first time in decade

Posted at 4:00 AM, Feb 06, 2020

WISCONSIN — On Thursday, Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection released its top 10 consumer complaints for 2019.

DATCP’s Top Ten Consumer Complaints in 2019 were:

1. Telemarketing: 4,244
2. Landlord/Tenant: 1,128
3. Telecommunications: 686
4. Home Improvement: 507
5. Medical Services: 299
6. Identity Theft: 228
7. Motor Vehicle Repair: 196
8. Motor Vehicle Sales: 141
9. Gas Pumps: 119
10. Computers & Equipment: 102

Wisconsinites filed 4,244 complaints about telemarketing for all of last year.

Similar to 2018, landlord/tenant complaints came in at number two, telecommunications took the third spot, followed by home improvement, medical services, identity theft and motor vehicle repair complaints. Click here to see the 2018 list.

A noteworthy difference in the 2019 list was the decline in telecommunications complaints made to DATCP. Consumers made 616 fewer complaints in 2019 compared to the year before.

"There is additional hope that consumers will experience some relief from years of unrelenting robocalls by the passing of the Federal TRACED Act in December of 2019. This bill moves to protect consumers from unwanted robocalls in part by requiring that

All telephone systems in the U.S. implement a coordinated authentication methodology to improve the accuracy of the caller-ID displayed on consumers’ phones.

While the new law will not prevent all scammer phone calls, it will allow for stricter penalties on illegitimate callers. Only those telemarketers from companies with whom you have an established relationship, or whom you’ve given permission to contact you, are allowed to call you. The FCC can now levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call on rogue telemarketers,” DATCP said in a news release.

In 2019, consumers made about about forty more medical service complaints compared to 2018.

“Billing disputes, misleading representations and unauthorized charges were areas of growing concern for consumers. Wisconsinites sought help in sorting out complicated billing issues and mediating situations where charges are in question,” DATCP said.

There was also a new category this year for complaints about computers and equipment.

DATCP said if you want to make a complaint, you can call its Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7128) or visit the agency’s website.

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