For every business that places integrity and customer service at the highest priority, there are dozens of others that enrage consumers with their shoddy work and lack of accountability.
Holding those disreputable companies to point, the Consumer Federation of America aggregated and ranked more than 289,000 consumer complaints from 37 state and local consumer agencies.
Credit and debt complaints ranked second among most frequently reported consumer concerns in the CFA’s top ten list. Common issues included billing and fee disputes, mortgage modifications and mortgage related fraud, credit repair, debt relief services, predatory lending, illegal or abusive debt collection tactics.
Debt collectors and mortgage problems also placed in the top five fastest-growing and most commonly cited complaints. New complaints included debt collectors who obtained default judgments against consumers without giving proper notice of legal action and creditors who made unauthorized consumer bank withdrawals to fulfill a debt.
The study also rated mortgage issues among the top five worst complaints based on the “number of complaints, the cost involved, the impact on vulnerable consumers, and the outrageousness of the situation.”
The full report also offered various guidance on credit and debt problems including:
- “Don’t assume that a debt has gone away just because the original creditor is no longer trying to collect it. If someone contacts you about an old debt and you’re not sure you owe it or you think that the collection tactics may be going too far, get advice about your debt collection rights from your state or local consumer protection agency. Also ask about the statute of limitations – the legal time limit for suing you.”
- “You have the right to tell debt collectors, in writing, not to contact you again. And it’s illegal for debt collectors to call with annoying frequency, falsely threaten legal action, use obscene language, or make any threats of bodily harm.”
- “Don’t be pressured into paying money you don’t owe. If you’re not sure, or the amount is incorrect, or you believe you don’t owe the debt at all, you can dispute it.”
- “Title loans, payday loans, and other short-term loans are typically very expensive and can trap you in a never-ending cycle of debt. Set aside as much money as you can on a regular basis to cover your everyday and unexpected expenses. For more information, go to Consumer Federation of America’s website about payday loans, PayDayLoanInfo.org.”