Attorney General Chris Carr today announced Georgia’s top consumer complaints for 2020. This announcement follows the release of the latest report from the Consumer Federation of America’s (CFA) annual survey of state and local consumer protection agencies.
“In 2020, our consumer protection department recorded new types of complaints related to the pandemic, including price gouging on food, stationery and personal protective equipment; fraud related to COVID; and businesses not providing refunds to consumers for canceled events and travel,” Attorney General Carr said. “We are proud that despite the spate of complaints and the move to telecommute, our office recorded $76.3 million in collections, savings and benefits over the past year. Georgians can contact us at Consumer.ga.gov report unfair practices and learn how to protect yourself from fraud and unscrupulous behavior.”
The Attorney General of Georgia was one of 34 agencies from 18 states that took part in the survey. Participating institutions were asked about the most frequent complaints, the fastest growing complaints and the worst complaints in 2020. In addition, the report identified new types of consumer problems, the agencies’ greatest achievements, and new laws enacted in agency jurisdictions over the past year to protect consumers.
Our consumer protection department served 55,170 consumers in 2020.
The top ten complaints reported to the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division in 2020 were:
- debt problems (Collections, Loan Companies, Credit Report Issues, Title Pledge, Payday Loans, Credit Card Providers, Credit Repair, Debt Settlement)
- used car sales
- Price gouging/public health emergency
- Landlord/tenant problems
- Car repairs
- employment issues
- DIY/Repairs (Home Improvements, Home Repairs, Security Systems, Roofing, HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Landscaping, Pest Control, Swimming Pools)
- Health-Related Services/Billing (medical services, provider or in-house third party billing, personal care services, pharmacies, inpatient hospital billing, home healthcare services, health participation plans, DUI/alcohol/drug risk reduction programs)
- new car sale
- Utilities (Cellular phones, landline phones, trunking services, cable, satellite, electricity,
Internet/Email, Natural Gas, Garbage, Recycling, Water/Sewer, Propane)
Nationwide top ten complaints in 2020
These are the top 10 nationwide complaints reported to state and local consumer protection agencies over the past year, according to the CFA survey.
- Automobile: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used vehicles, misleading financing practices, defective vehicles, improper repairs, car leasing and rental, towing disputes.
- DIY/Build: fogging
Dyswork, failure to begin or complete work, failure to have required license or registration.
- landlord tenant: Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, illegal eviction tactics.
- Credit/Debt: Billing and fee disputes, mortgage problems, credit repair and debt relief services, predatory lending, illegal or abusive debt collection tactics.
- Services: False statements, shoddy work, lack of required licensing or registration, non-performance.
- Utilities: Complaints about gas, electricity, water and cable billing and service.
- Retail trade: False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective goods, problems with discounts, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, non-delivery.
- Travel: Misrepresentation of costs, amenities or other aspects of travel packages, failure to deliver promised services, disputes over refunds.
- (tie) Healthcare products/services: Misleading claims, unlicensed practitioners, non-delivery, billing issues; Internet sales: False information or other fraudulent practices, non-delivery of online purchases.
- (Draw) Pandemic: Price gouging, refunds for canceled events and travel, financial problems, problems getting repairs and other services, “self-help” evictions, fraud and other grievances due to the pandemic; Fraud: Fake sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home programs, grant offers, fake check scams, scammer scams and other common scams; household items: Incorrect information, delivery failures, repair matters in connection with furniture and large appliances.
This ranking is based on the categories that appeared most frequently in the “Top Ten” complaint lists from the consumer advice centers. In total, the 34 agencies that took part in the survey processed 280,413 complaints and more than $262,973,073 recovered or saved for consumers in 2020 through informal arbitration, administrative procedures and lawsuits. To view the full 2020 Consumer Complaints Survey Report, click here.
Georgia consumers who have a complaint against a business may contact the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 404-651-8600 Consumer.ga.gov.