Washington consumers filed 25,197 written complaints with the Attorney General’s Office in 2008 – the greatest number since 2002. The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division released its annual Top 20 list of consumer complaint categories today in conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week. Gripes about health care businesses and commercial banks moved into the top 10 and telecommunications maintained its stronghold as the industry to generate the most criticism. That seems like a good reason to rerun tips on selecting a wireless phone.
“Year after year, the same handful of industries are generating the most complaints but what I find reassuring is that our Consumer Resource Centers continue to resolve most of those disputes and help consumers recoup millions of dollars,” Attorney General Rob McKenna said.
Consumer Protection Division staff had predicted that complaints about collection agencies, which had been steadily rising for several years, might bump phone companies out of the top spot. But collectors slipped back down to third place with 1,431 complaints in 2008, allowing retailers to pop back into No. 2 with 1,494 complaints while telecommunications, with a total of 1,728 complaints, clung onto pole position for at least the ninth consecutive year. Complaints about auto sales ranked fourth among the categories.
Staff reached out to businesses in 2008, starting a dialog with debt collectors and holding meetings with auto dealer associations in an effort to reduce complaints and strengthen compliance with consumer protection laws.
See today's news release for more information.