The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) announced the Top Ten complaint categories for 2021 in a press release this week. The DCA received a total of 5,561 complaints in 2021 and recovered both services and funds for Tennessee by working with consumers and businesses.
Overall, the number of consumer complaints increased 37 percent compared to 2020 when 4,053 complaints were reviewed by Consumer Affairs, according to the department.
The top three categories that saw the highest year over year increases were Home Improvement scams (increased by 58 percent), Landlord/Tenant complaints (increased 61 percent), and Health Services & Product complaints (increased 63 percent).
In 2021, Imposter Scams made up a significant number of consumer complaints which ended up placing that category into the Top Ten categories of complaints.
The Top Ten Complaint Categories in 2021, according to the DCA, were:
Home Improvements, Home Repairs, Home Warranties: 787 complaints
- Home warranties, as well as hiring a contractor for services to repair or improve the quality of your home. Common complaints involve quality of work, incomplete work after receiving payment, and structural damage caused by employed individuals or businesses. Many of these complaints are referred to the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors.
Landlord/Tenant: 466 complaints
- The most common complaints relate to security deposits and the conditions of the rental property. These complaints are commonly referred to city and county building codes enforcement and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Health Services & Products: 372 complaints
- Complaints include inaccurate billing and misquoting services. The Division may mediate complaints or refer appropriate complaints to the TN Department of Health.
Personal/Professional Services: 349 complaints
- Services offered by professionals including hair stylists, massage therapists, locksmiths, exterminators, photographers, surveyors, and others. Common complaints include the quality of service, charges for services not received, and problems redeeming gift certificates for services offered. Complaints in this category are sometimes referred to the TN Department of Commerce & Insurance’s Division of Regulatory Boards and the TN Board of Professional Responsibility.
Motor Vehicle- Used Sales & Advertising: 341 complaints
- Consumer dissatisfaction with the items or services purchased online. Common complaints include issues with refunds and returns, or the product or service not being provided after payment. Often, the product or service was solicited via email or social media advertisements. The Division of Consumer Affairs works to mediate these complaints.
Debtor/Creditor: 331 complaints
- Matters related to debt collection companies, payday loans, credit repair companies, and check-cashing services. Consumers report harassing phone calls or billing issues. These complaints may also be referred to the TN Department of Financial Institutions and the TN Department of Commerce & Insurance’s Regulatory Boards Division when applicable.
Internet Sales: 296 complaints
- Consumer dissatisfaction with items or services purchased online. Common complaints include issues with refunds and returns, or the product or service not being provided after payment. Often, the product or service was solicited via email or social media advertisements. The Division of Consumer Affairs works to mediate these complaints.
Motor Vehicle- Repairs & Warranties: 269 complaints
- Consumer dissatisfaction with vehicle repair service. Common complaints involved issue on the length of time taken for repair, with many complaints involving an issue with the appropriate parts being available for installation. The category also includes consumer dissatisfaction regarding purchased vehicle warranties.
Timeshare/Vacation Clubs: 211 complaints
- Complaints related to the purchase of property under a timesharing agreement and the sale of these agreements. The most common complaints report high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresentation of the contract, and resale scams. Some complaints may be referred to the TN Real Estate Commission or the TN Board of Professional Responsibility.
Imposter Scams: 185 complaints
- When a con artist poses as a government employee/agency, friend, or legitimate business. The perpetrators generally use text, calls, or emails to trick consumers into paying them via gift cards or wired money. Victims might also be tricked into providing sensitive information to receive a “government grant” or “free” money.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.