Attorney General Phil Weiser kicks off National Consumer Protection Week with top consumer complaints of 2022
March 6, 2023 (DENVER)—Attorney General Phil Weiser today kicked off National Consumer Protection Week by unveiling the list of the top 10 consumer complaints and inquiries his office received in 2022, which included retail sales, home services and repair schemes, and automotive sales and services.
Last year, consumers filed 17,941 complaints and inquiries with the Consumer Protection Section in the Colorado Department of Law, a 28% increase from 2021.
“At the Department of Law, our responsibility is to protect Colorado consumers. National Consumer Protection Week is an opportunity to provide resources, education, and knowledge so that Coloradans can continue to navigate and avoid scams, while also warning scammers and other bad actors that we are working to halt them and hold them accountable,” Weiser stated. “We also are committed to protecting Coloradans by pushing for pro-consumer legislation, as we did in enacting a law preventing deceptive auto-renewals and are doing this year pushing for new medical debt collection protections.”
National Consumer Protection Week, which this year runs March 5-11, is designated by the Federal Trade Commission as a time to help people understand their consumer rights and to make well-informed decisions about money. The attorney general’s office partners with the FTC to help raise awareness about Colorado scams and resources available.
The top 10 types of complaints and inquiries received in 2022 are:
|Top Types of Complaints & Inquiries for 2022|
|1. Retail Sales||These involve complaints relating to unauthorized memberships or subscriptions, service and delivery issues, and cancellation and termination issues.||1676|
|2. Home Services and Repair||These complaints include issues about general contracting and remodeling, heating, and cooling, and handyman services.||958|
3. Professional Services
|These complaints include issues about product and service warranties, business support, and legal related services.||919|
|4. Automobiles Sales and Service||These complaints include issues about automotive purchases, service and repair, and automobile rentals.||826|
|5. Government Agencies||Establishments such as federal, state, and local government agencies that administer, oversee, and manage public programs and have executive, legislative, or judicial authority over other institutions within a given area. These are legitimate (non-scam) complaints against a government agency. Examples can include complaints against a state representative, a state agency, or a municipality.||734|
|6. Lending Companies||These complaints include issues under the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, including interest rates, credit reporting, tribal lending, and unlicensed activity.||542|
|7. Real Estate Sales and Services
|These complaints include issues about rental and leasing, property management, and real estate related activates.||535|
|8. Imposter Scams – Business Impersonations||These complaints involve known scams where a scammer is attempting to impersonate a business. In many cases, these scams relate directly to fraudulent telephone calls or emails from scammers posing as a government official or employee from a reputable company, often seeking monetary payments through gift cards, wire transfers, and other money transmittal services.||523|
|9. Debt Collection||These complaints include issues under the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including harassment or abuse by a debt collector, disputed debt, and phantom debt or unlicensed collection.||516|
|10. Health Care and Medical Services||These complaints include issues about hospitals and urgent care, health and medical insurance carriers, and health practitioners relating to quality of care, billing, and coverage issues.||485|
These scams were the most common complaints the attorney general’s office received in 2022, but scams can differ based on where a person lives. For the first time, the attorney general’s office is providing an interactive map that shows the common scams for each county in Colorado.
Consumer protection actions taken in 2022
In 2022, the attorney general brought enforcement actions against several businesses to protect consumers and provide refunds and other relief. These actions include:
- Settlements with CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Mallinckrodt, and others for their roles in the opioids crisis. In total, over $740 million in settlement funds are being distributed to local governments and regions to combat the opioid crisis.
- Settlements with student loan servicer Navient, and the now-defunct ITT Tech and Westwood College that resulted in debt relief for thousands of Colorado borrowers who were subjected to widespread deceptive and predatory lending practices.
- Reached an historic national settlement with Google after the company intentionally misled consumers into believing they could control their location data and privacy.
- Investigations into the auto-lending GAP market resulted in over $6.5 million in refunds to Colorado consumers after multiple credit unions failed to return GAP fees to customers.
- Over $2.5 million in refunds were secured for over 80,000 low-income Coloradans and members of the military after TurboTax deceived customers into paying for tax services that should have been free.
Under Weiser’s leadership as attorney general, consumers have received $255 million in refunds, credits and debt relief from legal settlements and judgments.
StopFraudColorado.gov is a website for the Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Section that is designed to emphasize consumer protection outreach and makes it easier for Coloradans to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, while streamlining the process for filing fraud reports. If you notice any scams, fraud, price gouging, or other attempts to take advantage of Coloradans, contact Stop Fraud Colorado at 800-222-4444 or www.StopFraudColorado.gov.