It’s auto sales and repair.
“Consumers rely on cars to get to work, school, doctors’ appointments and more,” said Erin Witte, director of consumer protection for the Consumer Federation of America.
Complaints related to the sale and leasing of new and used automobiles – pricing, advertisements, and mechanical defects – as well as issues related to the repair of vehicles.
It’s the seventh year in a row that auto sales, leases, and repairs are the No. 1 complaint in the CFA survey.
Home repairs and contractors jumped to the No. 2 category, and landlord/tenant complaints fell to fifth place.
The federation surveyed consumer agencies and based its report on information from 36 agencies in 25 states.
The 10 complaint categories in 2022 are:
- Auto sales and repair
- Home improvement repairs and contractors
- Consumer debt and credit
- Retail purchase issues
- Landlord tenant
- Frauds and scams
- Home furnishings and appliances
- Travel and moving
Some “honorable mentions” of consumer complaint categories that didn’t make the top 10 but were reported by agencies include complaints about predatory towing, telecommunications and robocalls, pet sales, government agencies (unemployment assistance, wage recovery, and others), food service industry (restaurant practices, food delivery companies), and subscription services.
The state and local consumer agencies that responded to the survey recovered more than $743 million for consumers and handled nearly 600,000 complaints in 2022.
To avoid problems in the 10 complaint categories, the CFA recommends:
- Auto sales and repair: Be wary of add-ons and hidden price markups. Shop around for a better interest rate. Be willing to walk away.
- Home improvement repairs and contractors: Use a licensed contractor. Get references. Know your cancellation rights.
- Consumer debt and credit. Be wary of companies offering credit repair. Realize paying down debt is saving. Don’t ignore debt collectors.
- Retail purchase issues: Be wary of certain shopping apps. Ask yourself “Is the deal too good to be true?” Watch out for fake reviews.
- Landlord tenant: Be wary of junk fees. Check out whether eviction expungement is available to you. Know your basic rights as a tenant.
- Frauds and scams: Be aware gift cards are a red flag. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t ever click on a link in a text message.
- Healthcare/wellness. Make sure your health insurance information is up to date. Remember that dietary supplements aren’t regulated.
- Home furnishings and appliances: Ask for a firm delivery date. Review promotional financing offers carefully. Be wary of rent-to-own agreements.
- Utilities: Be wary of junk fees in your bill. Learn to spot scams that threaten your utilities.
- Travel and moving. File a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Look for red flags such as getting a low estimate without the company seeing your belongings or home and being asked to sign blank documents. Know the difference between a mover and a broker.
“For more information, see the CFA's “Consumer Complaint Survey Report 2022.”