Top 10 Hair-Tearing Consumer Complaints

Photo (cc) by B Rosen

It seems American consumers have a lot to gripe about these days. From billing disputes with their cable company to issues with landlords, consumers have a long list of complaints about their dealings with businesses.

The Consumer Federation of America recently released its list of the biggest consumer complaints for 2014. Shady dealings with car dealers and shoddy home-repair work topped the list.

Americans’ biggest consumer frustrations fall into these categories:

  1. Auto: Consumers’ frustrations include false advertising, purchasing a lemon, shoddy repair work, and leasing and towing disputes.
  2. Home improvement and construction: Faulty repair work and a failure to start or complete the work were consumers’ main gripes.
  3. Credit/debt: Dealing with billing and fee disputes, mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud, credit repair, debt-relief services, predatory lending, and illegal or abusive debt-collection tactics were among the top gripes.
  4. Retail sales and utilities (tie): Misleading ads, defective merchandise, issues with coupons and rebates, and failed deliveries were commonly reported issues in 2014. Complaints about utilities include service disruption and billing disputes with telecommunications companies, as well as electric and gas suppliers.
  5. Dealings with professionals, including lawyers and real estate brokers: Consumers reported struggling with improper licensing, shoddy work and a failure by these professionals to perform the agreed upon work.
  6. Landlord/tenant: Renters had big issues with their landlords (slumlords may be a more accurate term here) in 2014, because of unhealthy and unsafe living conditions, illegal eviction tactics and a failure by the landlord to complete necessary repair work.
  7. Home solicitations: Not surprisingly, consumers don’t like telemarketers calling them repeatedly, especially if they’re on the do-not-call list, nor were they happy with unwelcome, pushy door-to-door salesmen.
  8. Health services and Internet sales (tie): Top consumer complaints in health services highlighted the problems of misleading claims and unlicensed practitioners.
  9. Scams: Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home schemes, fake check scams and imposter scams got consumers’ blood boiling in 2014.
  10. Household goods: Failed deliveries and faulty repairs with furniture and home appliances topped consumers’ complaints.

Although it didn’t win the dubious honor of landing on the CFA’s top 10 list, identity theft was recognized as the fastest-growing gripe in the United States. Identity theft was the biggest complaint the Federal Trade Commission dealt with in 2014.

It’s not surprising, considering the sheer volume of data breaches experienced in 2014, as well as reports of stolen tax returns.

Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at CFA, said providing identity-theft insurance and credit monitoring after the fact is not nearly enough.

“The solution to the problem isn’t to provide consumers with identity-theft insurance, it’s to require better security to prevent their personal information from being stolen and fraudulently used,” Grant said.

What is your biggest gripe as a consumer? Share your frustrating experiences in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams

You can spot scammers and con artists with a little know-how.

Secret Ways to Save on Netflix
Secret Ways to Save on Netflix

These little-known savings tactics can help whittle down what you pay for your streaming video subscription — every month.

60% of People With This Disease Don’t Know They Have It
60% of People With This Disease Don’t Know They Have It

Millions of people overlook this potentially potent condition that tends to strike women and older adults.

5 Surveys For Money Sites To Get Paid For Your Opinion
5 Surveys For Money Sites To Get Paid For Your Opinion

Yes, you can earn extra cash by taking online surveys. But some websites are better than others for this. Here are a few of our favorites.

Half of All Retirees Say They Fear This
Half of All Retirees Say They Fear This

Chances are good that you share this fear. Here’s a way to overcome it.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles
The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles

One automaker takes half the spots on a list of the longest-lasting vehicles.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

Will Stimulus Checks Increase Your Social Security Taxes?
Will Stimulus Checks Increase Your Social Security Taxes?

Could all those “free” checks prove costly down the road?

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic
11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic

Many goods we take for granted have become tough to find in 2021.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.