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The Top 10 Consumer Complaints

August 5, 2013

The new list of the top consumer complaints is out and once again problems with auto sales and repairs are No. 1. Home improvement and construction along with credit and debt disputes continue to be high on this year's list.

Susan Grant, director of consumer protection at the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), said the list shows "the persistence of complaints related to economic hardship" from foreclosure problems to landlords skimping on the heat as well as "the boundless creativity of scammers to find new ways to fleece consumers."

The top 10 list of consumer complaints for 2012 is based on a survey by CFA and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators of forty state and local consumer protection agencies across the country.

Complaints related to autos are all across the board and include: misrepresenting the true mileage of a used car, selling used vehicles with undisclosed mechanical problems, deceptive sales practices and unlicensed used car dealers.

"It's really no surprise that auto transactions continue to lead the list of complaints. Not only have cars become more complex and expensive, but many dealers still can't get it right when it comes to treating their customers fairly and with respect," said Jack Gillis, CFA's director of public affairs and author of "The Car Book 2013."

The report suggests various ways you can protect yourself. They include:

Here are the rest of the nation's Top 10 Consumer Complaints for 2012:

2. Home Improvement/Construction: The most common problems reported were shoddy work and failure to start or complete the job on time.

3. Credit/Debt: Complaints ranged from billing and fee disputes to bogus credit repair and mortgage-related fraud. The agencies reported various illegal or abusive debt collection tactics, including harassing phone calls and attempting to collect a debt that was not owed.

4. Utilities: Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas service were frequently cited.

5. Retail Sales: False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates and failure to deliver were listed.

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6. Services: Complaints included misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses and failure to perform.

7. Home Solicitations: Misrepresentations or failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations and do-not-call violations were among the complaints.

8. Landlord/Tenant: Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes as well as illegal eviction tactics were included.

9. Internet Sales: Misrepresentations or other deceptive practices and failure to deliver online purchases were among the complaints.

10. Household Goods: Complaints included misrepresentations, failure to deliver and faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances.

The consumer protection agencies were asked what new laws they would like to see passed this year. The list included: