Complaints, scams rise in the high-priced consumer market
Between soaring prices and low stock, consumers have been through a lot over the past couple years.
“It’s just becoming a tough market, real estate wise, auto wise, and with interest rates going up, it’s just going to continue to get tough for us all really,” said Robert Blount, a car shopper.
Nowhere is this more evident than the auto industry. In fact, auto sales and repairs were the number one category of complaints for 2021.
The Consumer Federation of America says the car industry has taken the top spot for six years now, adding, “It is clear that auto sales and repairs are a longstanding problem.”
The nation’s hot housing market and tight rental scene also led to lots of complaints.
“He told me to get gift cards,” said Joseph Veras, a housing scam victim. “He wanted me to send the money. He told me to take a picture of the front and the back of the card and the receipt and send it to him.”
In south Florida, Veras sent a phony landlord $4,000 to secure a three-bedroom, two bath home for rent. His interpreter tried to help.
“I called the business, no longer in service,” said Amy Hair, an ASL interpreter. “I called the other cell phone number; that was out of service.”
Other top categories on the complaint list include home improvement repairs, retail purchases and consumer debt and credit.
In total, consumer advocacy groups collected 208,000 complaints in 2021 — a small decrease from the prior year.
They secured over $119 million in relief for consumers — also less than in 2020.