Consumers should always be mindful of whom they do business with as well as the terms and conditions involved in any business they choose to do.
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) conducts annual consumer surveys to spot complaints. This information is useful to consumers so they can be very careful in order to protect themselves.
Top 5 WORST complaints:
Mind you, these are not the most nor highest trending complaints. These complaints fall under the worst due to either how extreme they are, the dollar amount of the complaints and the vulnerability of the consumer.
Foreclosure issues: It’s not surprising Foreclosure issues top this list. We’re still in a housing market and economy with much foreclosure activity. The dollar amount on these issues can be huge. Foreclosure issues have been around forever but the increase has been much greater since the start of the declining housing market in 2008 or so. Declining home values combined with the previous easy to qualify for mortgages resulted in the perfect storm in the foreclosure market.
Problems with home repairs after disasters: To me, this is purely disgusting. Disasters lead to big insurance checks and in some cases government aide. Honest qualified contractors may be hard to come by due to the huge amount of demand after a disaster. I have read and heard way too many stories about unscrupulous contractors taking on jobs, demanding funds upfront and then not doing the work. Many of these contractors flock from other cities due to demand. Certainly, many of these out of town contractors are good, honest workers. If you’re ever in this situation, just try your best to check as many references as you can, and limit any advance payments.
Sweepstakes scams and other frauds targeting elderly consumers: This is pure evil and sad. I’ve spoken to many elderly folks who fell victim to these types of scams. It seems most of these scams are conducted from outside of the United States. This makes it even more difficult for Government agencies to stop this. In many cases, the elderly just seem to be more trusting so they are the perfect consumer for these scammers to target. Old or young, please understand these scams exist and almost every offer saying you won money is a scam. I am not saying to turn away Publishers Clearing House if they are knocking on your door but don’t give your personal or financial information to anyone who you don’t know.
Business opportunities and work-at-home offer: With the high unemployment rate in the United States, many consumers are looking for jobs or just extra ways to make money. Many companies are legitimate and offer consumers real work for job opportunities. Just BE CAREFUL. Scams usually want to invest or purchase product upfront. Again, this in itself doesn’t mean the offer is a scam, just look into the offer and make sure it is legit.
Violations of do-not-call and other telemarketing rights: The good news on this one, it just causes annoyances. If you’re getting unsolicited calls, make sure all your phone numbers are on the Federal Do Not Call list. You can register your number online in less than a minute. Go to https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx. You can also verify if your number is already on the Federal list by checking at https://www.donotcall.gov/confirm/conf.aspx.
Bottom line, be careful with who you do business with. Look to verify they are for real. If you are getting the runaround and excuses, you may want to think twice.