Telemarketers earn highest number of consumer complaints on Oregon Attorney General's annual Top 10 list [The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.]
(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 06--The Oregon Department of Justice released its top 10 consumer complaint list for 2012 with those pesky telemarketers making the top spot for the second year in a row.
For the year, the state received a total of 12,000 written complaints from consumers. Complaints about telemarketers made up about 15 percent of those, or 1,828.
Falling in line behind telemarketers were debt collection agencies at No. 2 with 1,032 complaints, a 42 percent increase from the industry's complaint total last year. The state said the increase likely came from complaints from consumers who received suspicious, albeit valid, notices of late movies from bankrupt Hollywood Video. Home ownership issues followed in the No. 3 slot with 939 complaints. (see the complete list below). The state encouraged consumers who feel they're wrongly being targeted by a debt collector to read up on their rights.
Overall, the state received 12,000 written complaints from consumers last year. The state helped consumers recover $3.7 million during that period and landed $15.8 million in settlements and judgments from civil actions against mortgage companies, pharmaceutical providers and others.
Top 10 Consumer Complaints 2012
1. Telemarketing calls: 1,828
The state said that telemarketing complaints, many from folks who are on the do-not-call list, were forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission that tracks violations. The complaints were mostly about calls from Pacific Telecom Communications Group and Card Services, which uses automated messages with promises to help reduce credit card interest rates. Such automated calls are illegal, the state said, as is its practice of hiding the true number from which the calls are made and the fact it routinely calls do-not-call list members.
2. Collection agencies: 1,032
3. Home Ownership issues: 939
Real Estate Credit 658
Loan Servicers 110
Loan Modifiers 53 Mortgage Brokers 32
4. Telecommunications: 843
Satellite TV 175
Internet Service Provider 113
Cable TV 73
Long Distance 69
Local Phone Service 40
Bundled Services 21
5. Motor Vehicle Sales: 652
New Car Dealers 198
Selling new cars 98
Selling used cars 98
Used Car Dealers 402
RV, Trailer, Campers 33
6. Financial services: 585
Credit cards 140
Commercial banking 119
Investment activities 114
Sales financing 59
Credit bureaus 58
Payday/title loans 58
Debt reduction services 54
Consumer lending 34
7. International Money Transfer Schemes: 515
The state said less money was lost in 2012 to international money transfer scams -- $825,224, a 25 percent drop from 2011. However, the state also said that while such scams were ranked No. 7 with 515 complaints, it's likely more money was lost as many consumers don't report that they were victimized.
8. Health Related: 375
Medical products 33
Food Supplements 32
Pharmacies/drug stores 17
Medical discount cards 10
9. Magazine sales agents: 222
Making the list for the first time this year, complaints in this category were mostly concerning Orbital Publishing Group. The state said "unscrupulous magazine sales agents" often send official-looking, but fake subscription renewal and billing notices asking for amounts ranging from $14.98 to $179.95. The state warned consumers and businesses to watch out for solicitations disguised as bills.
10. Timeshare resellers: 201
Timeshare resellers also made the top ten list for the first time this year. The state provides a lowdown on the scam:
"A timeshare reseller calls a timeshare owner saying he's got a buyer for their property. The owner is asked to sign a contract and pay a transaction fee -- usually with a credit or debit card -- before the alleged sale can proceed. But after signing the contract and paying the fee, the owner rarely hears again from the reseller. In most cases, the buyer never existed, and the contract was for advertising services only."
Have your own issues Read up or contact the state online or by phone 1-877-877-9392.
-- Laura Gunderson
(c)2013 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)
Visit The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) at www.oregonian.com
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