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Lending tops list of NC consumer complaints

Posted March 5, 2012

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— Complaints about lending were the most common consumer issues handled by the North Carolina Attorney General's Office in 2011, officials said Monday.

The total number of complaints filed with the state Consumer Protection Division was down last year, to 18,483 from 21,879 in 2010.

Consumers filed 3,988 complaints about interest rate hikes, charges for late payments, foreclosure relief scams and other lending-related issues in 2011, up from 3,909 the previous year. Lending complaints hadn't topped the annual list since 2002, officials said.

Complaints about health care, which ranked No. 2 on the 2011 list, were down sharply, from 4,605 in 2010 to 3,271 last year. Complaints about Do Not Call list violators jumped from 2,514 in 2010 to 2,933 last year, placing them third on the list.

Credit and collections, vehicle repairs and purchases, telemarketing fraud, home repair, television services, Internet and computers and telecommunications complaints rounded out the top 10 issues for North Carolina consumers last year, officials said.

“Scammers are always looking to make a fast buck, and they’re experts at gaining your trust,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Learn to recognize a scam or bad deal so you can avoid getting ripped off, and report potential fraud to my office to help us enforce the law.”

Cooper offered the following tips to help North Carolinians avoid scams and unfair business practices:

  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Reject high-pressure sales pitches. If the offer is good only for a day, walk away. Always read contracts carefully and never sign a document that you don’t understand or that has blanks to be filled in later.
  • Be wary of unsolicited offers. Never give out your Social Security Number, credit card or bank account number or other personal information to anyone you don’t know who calls or emails you.
  • North Carolina law makes it illegal to collect advance fees for some types of work, such as foreclosure assistance and debt settlement help. If an advance payment is required for other kinds of transactions, use a credit card if possible. This gives you some protection if your order doesn’t arrive.
  • Do business with companies you know or that are recommended to you. Check companies out with the Attorney General’s Office or the Better Business Bureau before making major purchases.
  • Join the Do Not Call registry to cut down on unwanted telemarketing calls. To sign up, call 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register or visit www.donotcall.gov. Once you’re on the list, report Do No Call violators to the Attorney General’s Office.

North Carolina consumers who want to check up on a business, get tips or file a complaint can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling toll-free 877-5-NO-SCAM or by submitting a complaint online.

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  • RM24 Mar 6, 2012

    They told my spouse and I that we could have a house that coest 5 times what we had figured out we could afford.. Before long...10 couples we knew who made half what we made had houses that costs 3 times as much. How sad.. Lost all of them.
    BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah

    AT least you figured out that you were signing the papers, so you were the only one responsible for making the payments. SO at least you listened to yourself.

  • RM24 Mar 6, 2012

    How about car finance companies who charge you more then what the care is worth,know some who are still paying interest on their car which is more then what the car is worth.
    Uhavenoclu

    PAY cash for your car. IF you cant then ride a bike. OR PAY your bills and your rate is lower.

  • RM24 Mar 6, 2012

    What about Bankruptsy lawyers who know you have no money but charge hundreds of dollars just to file and then charge you hundreds more in fees.?
    Uhavenoclu

    THEN DONT BORROW MONEY? NO need for them. SHOULD there buisess be free?

  • Uhavenoclu Mar 5, 2012

    What about Bankruptsy lawyers who know you have no money but charge hundreds of dollars just to file and then charge you hundreds more in fees.?

  • Uhavenoclu Mar 5, 2012

    How about car finance companies who charge you more then what the care is worth,know some who are still paying interest on their car which is more then what the car is worth.

  • Uhavenoclu Mar 5, 2012

    If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    So they are telling to always look for the bad in things,huh...yeah we live in a very bad world when the government tells you to never look for the good but always accept and take the bad.
    Fear mongers....

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Mar 5, 2012

    They told my spouse and I that we could have a house that coest 5 times what we had figured out we could afford..
    Before long...10 couples we knew who made half what we made had houses that costs 3 times as much.
    How sad..
    Lost all of them.

  • dontstopnow Mar 5, 2012

    love how health care complaints went down... Maybe they should now go back to that stat and figure out how many people that are sick or have major medical issues are not going to the doctor or hospital because of costs. That is a stat I would like to see.

  • Rebelyell55 Mar 5, 2012

    Wish they would do something about the do not call list. Now the marketers are using computer generate call, so you don't have alive person talking to you. You have to wait and hit number to be taken off. You do this and yet they still call. I waited to hit one so I could find out the name of the company. The I told them this number was on the do not call, why are the calling. He claim by me hitting one, that now I was calling him. I told keep believe that, I got the company name. If it come again, he'll be reported, that's when he hung up. Roy Cooper,. you keep em straight up there. Good luck stopping the rate hike by Duke, I hope ya win that too.

  • muggs Mar 5, 2012

    storchheim, Thanks for the info,will pursue that.

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