ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr today announced Georgia’s top consumer complaints for 2020. This announcement follows the release of the latest report from the annual survey of state and local consumer agencies conducted by Consumer Federation of America (CFA).
“In 2020, our Consumer Protection Division saw new kinds of complaints related to the pandemic, including price gouging of food, paper goods and personal protective equipment; COVID-related scams; and businesses failing to refund consumers for cancelled events and travel,” said Attorney General Carr. “We are proud that in spite of the influx of complaints and the change to teleworking, our office was able to record $76.3 million dollars in recoveries, savings and benefits last year. Georgians can contact us at consumer.ga.gov to report unfair practices and to learn how to protect themselves from scams and unscrupulous behavior.”
The Georgia Attorney General’s Office was one of 34 agencies from 18 states that participated in the survey. Participating entities were asked about the most common complaints, the fastest-growing complaints and the worst complaints received in 2020. In addition, the report identified new kinds of consumer problems, agencies’ greatest achievements and new laws enacted in the agencies’ jurisdictions last year to protect consumers.
Our Consumer Protection Division served 55,170 consumers in 2020.
The top ten complaints reported to the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division in 2020 were:
- Debt Issues (debt collection, loan companies, credit report problems, title pawns, payday loans, credit card providers, credit repair, debt adjustment)
- Used Car Sales
- Price Gouging/Public Health State of Emergency
- Landlord/Tenant Issues
- Automotive Repairs
- Employment Issues
- Home Improvement/Repairs (home improvements, home repairs, security systems, roofing, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, landscaping, pest control, swimming pools)
- Health-Related Services/Billing (medical services, billing by provider or in-house 3rd party collector, personal care services, pharmacy, hospital inpatient billing, home health services, health sharing plans, DUI/alcohol/drug risk reduction programs)
- New Car Sales
- Utilities (cell phones, landline phones, bundled services, cable, satellite, electricity, internet/email, natural gas, garbage, recycling, water/sewer, propane)
Nationwide Top Ten Complaints in 2020
These are the top ten nationwide complaints that were reported to state and local consumer agencies last year based on the CFA survey.
- Auto: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, deceptive financing practices, defective vehicles, faulty repairs, car leasing and rentals, towing disputes.
- Home Improvement/Construction: Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job, failure to have required licensing 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: Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licensing or registration, nonperformance.
- Utilities: Complaints about gas, electric, water and cable billing and service.
- Retail Sales: False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, failure to deliver.
- Travel: Misrepresentations about cost, amenities or other aspects of travel packages, failure to provide promised services, disputes about refunds.
- (Tie) Health Products/Services: Misleading claims, unlicensed practitioners, failure to deliver, billing issues; Internet Sales: Misrepresentations or other deceptive practices, failure to deliver online purchases.
- (Tie) Pandemic: price gouging, refunds for cancelled events and travel, financial issues, problems getting repairs and other services, “self-help” evictions, scams, and other complaints stemming from the pandemic; Fraud: Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home schemes, grant offers, fake check scams, imposter scams and other common frauds; Household Goods: Misrepresentations, failure to deliver, repair issues in connection with furniture and major appliances.
This ranking is based on the categories that appeared most frequently in the consumer agencies’ “top ten” complaint lists. Collectively, the 34 agencies that participated in the survey handled 280,413 complaints and recovered or saved more than $262,973,073 for consumers in 2020 through informal mediation, administrative action, and lawsuits. To see the full 2020 Consumer Complaint Survey Report, click here.
Georgia consumers who have a complaint against a business can contact the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 404-651-8600 or consumer.ga.gov.