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What's the number one consumer complaint in the U.S.?

While most of us would like to imagine that the goods or services we purchase will be hassle-free, we know from firsthand experience that this is not always the reality. Indeed, products don't always function as advertised, service agreements aren't always honored and items received aren't always the items ordered.

Even though these types issues are often resolved amicably, many times they do not end quite so well. In fact, consumers might be so dissatisfied with their experience that they are prompted to file a complaint with a government entity. 

Interestingly enough, the North American Consumer Protection Investigators and the Consumer Federation of American recently released a report identifying the top ten consumer complaints here in the U.S.

As part of their efforts, the researchers surveyed 39 local and state consumer protection agencies across 23 states to identify the most common consumer grievances. After tallying the responses, they arrived at the following rankings:

  1. Motor vehicles: Sales of "lemons," deceptive advertising, leasing disputes, faulty repairs
  2. Residential construction/home improvement: Failures to perform, unfinished projects, poor workmanship
  3. Utilities: Service issues, problematic installation, billing disputes concerning internet, cable, telephone, gas and electricity providers
  4. Retail sales: Defective items, misleading advertising, issues with coupons and gift cards
  5. Debt/credit: Predatory lending, abusive collection practices, fee disputes, fraudulent debt relief services
  6. Health services/products: Billing issues, unlicensed practitioners, failures to deliver
  7. Services: Failures to possess the necessary licensure, failures to perform, poor workmanship
  8. Landlord/tenant and household goods (tie): Illegal eviction tactics, failures to repair, rent/deposit disputes; substandard repairs, failures to deliver, misrepresentations  
  9. Online sales: Failures to deliver, deceptive sales practices
  10. Home solicitations: High-pressure sales tactics, failures to deliver, do-not-call violations, deceptive advertisements

It's important for those who feel as if they've been victimized by some manner of consumer fraud to understand that they may be able to do more than just file a complaint. Indeed, they -- and other similarly wronged parties -- may be able to hold the offending entity legally accountable.

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