September 22, 2014

No call list violations remain top consumer complaint

For the 10th year in a row, telemarketers are the number one consumer complaint in Wisconsin. That’s according the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection’s annual top ten list. DATCP officials say they sent out over 300 cease and desist letters last year to companies violating the state’s No Call List.

Illegal robocalls remain a top annoyance in the category. However, Division of Consumer Protection administrator Sandy Chalmers says they are very difficult to stop. She says you should just hang up when those calls come in, because “if you press a key or wait to speak to an operator, it lets the scammers know your number is active, and you will end up getting even more calls.”

Chalmers adds that illegal robocalls are such a nationwide nuisance that the Federal Trade Commission recently announced a $50,000 prize to any person or business that could figure out how to stop or block them.

Landlord-tenant disputes were a distant second on the state’s list, with 940 written complaints. Various telecommunication complaints were third, followed by identity theft.

Home improvement scams are number five, followed by appliance store complaints. Over 200 complaints were filed when Milwaukee’s Appliance World closed, affecting buyers who paid for merchandise but never had it delivered. State officials intervened, and they said over $89,000 in goods were returned.

Motor vehicle sales were the seventh most common complaint. Gas pump inaccuracies, vehicle repairs, and contests rounded out the top ten.

In total, DATCP says it recorded 10,061 new formal written complaints in 2012.