Photo: Shankar S. (Flickr)
Used auto sales and service were the top complaints filed with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office last year, according to an annual report released today.
About 15,400 complaints were filed in 2013 — a number Director of Consumer Protection Abby Kuzma says has remained fairly steady in the past few years.
“Education is really important. People need to know how to protect themselves,” she says, adding that Hoosiers should feel free to reach out for help if they do not understand their rights.
Here’s how the list breaks down.
1. Used auto sales and service (1,002 complaints) - These complaints included deceptive advertising and faulty repairs, among other claims.
2. Retail sales (999 complaints) - The attorney general’s office attributes these complaints to the fact that when retail businesses close down, they often do so quickly and leave customers without the services or products they paid for.
Kuzma says the state saw a higher number of retail businesses closing last year, which boosted this number.
“Depending on what’s going on with the store, if they are going into bankruptcy or some other situation, it makes it more complicated and difficult to receive a refund, but in many instances we are able to assist the consumer. We certainly always try,” Kuzma says.
3. Home repair and construction (923 complaints) - This complaint category includes poor quality work and failure to complete or start a project.
4. Debt collection (787 complaints) - Complaints include alleged harassment or fake creditors who threaten jail time if the people they are targeting don’t pay. The attorney general’s office say they have seen an increase in fake creditors in recent years.
5. Fraud and scams (616 complaints) - Pretty self explanatory. Think spam emails.
6. Internet sales and service (571 complaints) - The attorney general’s office says consumers reported issues with receiving products, deceptive advertising and refunds.
7. Consumer lending (449 complaints) – This includes advertisements for payday loans, cash advance loans and check advance loans that trick people into paying extremely high interest rates.
8. Identity theft (445 complaints) - These complaints include financial information that has been stolen.
9. Health services (392 complaints) - Most of these complaints related to the contracts people signed for health or fitness clubs.
10. Telephone & TV service providers (371 complaints) – These include complaints about service quality and additional fees on monthly bills.