Local News

Health care tops consumer complaints for sixth year

Posted March 7, 2011

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— For the sixth year in a row, complaints about the health care industry topped the list of reports to the state Consumer Protection Division in 2010, Attorney General Roy Cooper said Monday.

Overall, complaints were down slightly – to 21,879 from 22,665 in 2009.

More than 4,600 people complained to the state about health insurance, medical providers, medical billing or collection practices and health products and services. One common complaint came from those who thought they were getting a free trial of weight-loss products but ended up being charged for the products.

Complaints about loans and lending practices were the second-most common issue reported to the state. The "Do Not Call" list came in third, followed by complaints about  telemarketing schemes such as those that pitch bogus lower credit card rates, international lottery tickets, government grants, identity theft protection and phony prizes or sweepstakes.

{embed href="document-1"}} 

Cooper offered the following tips to help North Carolinians avoid scams and bad deals:

  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Say “no” to high-pressure sales pitches. If the offer is “only good today," 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 sends you an e-mail.
  • 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.
  • To protect yourself from identity theft, check your credit report regularly. You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each nationwide credit bureau. To access your free credit reports, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

“Unfortunately a down economy doesn’t discourage scammers, especially those that promise to help you get out of debt, negotiate a lower mortgage payment, get a job or make money working from home,” Cooper warned.

North Carolina consumers who have a problem with a business can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. To file a complaint, call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free or submit a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.

83 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • soyousay Mar 8, 2011

    keep..And I should pay the bill. If not, the hospital should sue me

    and they will and they will get nothig out of you and the debt will mount like it has over many many years, and hospitals tettering on the brink will close EDs or their doors. But hey don't carry insurance you will still get in the door! all these silly wingnut suits are about the insurance mandate- evidently the right wing think pixie dust pays the bills.

  • TheBigLC Mar 8, 2011

    blackdog, you might want to checlk into what those complints are about. they are not about lack of coverage. They are about billing and patient care. If you think the government taking over healthcare is going to REDUCE those complaints well.....good luck with that.

  • blackdog Mar 7, 2011

    But, the GOP said that is the way it should be...

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Mar 7, 2011

    "You don’t have to go to the doctor either, but if you are injured or get really sick, someone will scoop you up and take you to the ER. If you are mangled in a car accident or screaming in pain from an infected appendix I’ll bet you’ll be begging to go."

    And I should pay the bill. If not, the hospital should sue me.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Mar 7, 2011

    This is all about personal responsbility. Liberals do not believe in it and want everyone taking care of everyone else, and then they can control people. Conservatives believe in personal responsibility. You take care of yourself. If I want to help someone, that is my choice.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Mar 7, 2011

    "You can get just catastrophic health insurance to cover events beyond your control (see above). "

    Once again, more liberal lies. I have to buy a plan that Obama approves. You have to have a policy that covers maternity benefits. You have to have a policy that pays for mammograms. Even if you are a guy and will never use these, you have to have them and buy them.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Mar 7, 2011

    "They have no incentive to use their primary care doctor, and there are so few doctors that take Medicaid anymore, sometimes they have no choice."

    That's because liberals keep on enabling the bad behavior.

  • soapbox Mar 7, 2011

    “First, I don't have to own a car.”

    You don’t have to go to the doctor either, but if you are injured or get really sick, someone will scoop you up and take you to the ER. If you are mangled in a car accident or screaming in pain from an infected appendix I’ll bet you’ll be begging to go.

    “I can't opt out of Obamacare.”

    Sure you can. You can choose between insurance premiums or a fine.

    “Second, I only have to buy liability insurance.”

    You can get just catastrophic health insurance to cover events beyond your control (see above).

    “The goal is to protect others on the street, not myself. Obamacare is trying to protect me from myself.”

    No, healthcare reform is designed to protect the medical industry from people who can’t get or can’t afford health insurance, freeloaders who think they don’t need health insurance, and to protect the consumer from unethical insurance provider practices.

  • GWALLY Mar 7, 2011

    ..."If Obamacare stands, the Federal government has total control over my life. That is the basic definition of slavery.-Keepin_it_real_in_NC..."

    Nomobama, Bev and local sales tax already get 50% of everything you make...and now the have a "health care" plan you can't refuse...you like being a slave...??? Better get used to it if you plan to do nothing..!!!!!

  • Qwerty27807 Mar 7, 2011

    The people that abuse the ER are not those without insurance, it is people on Medicaid. They have no incentive to use their primary care doctor, and there are so few doctors that take Medicaid anymore, sometimes they have no choice.

    I worked for 10 years as an ER nurse; and I've finally left health care for good. Anyone who thinks government isn't already in control of health care has no idea how many licensing agencies, regulatory boards, payees, and certification agencies all have their hand in your health care -- and the ENORMOUS bureaucracy that has to be fed before the first direct patient care provider sees a single dollar in their pocket.

More...