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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Announces Top Five Consumer Complaints
National Consumer Protection Week, March 2 - 8

BALTIMORE, MD (March 4, 2008) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler released the top five Maryland consumer complaints from 2007 to highlight the importance of financial literacy during National Consumer Protection Week. The Consumer Protection Division (CPD) was able to acquire more than $4 million for consumer reimbursements and received 15,661 complaints in 2007. The CPD works to mediate disputes between consumers and businesses such as car dealers, repair shops, landlords or debt collectors. Landlord management topped the list with 3.8% of complaints.

Consumers are faced with daily financial questions ranging from managing their budgets
to understanding their credit reports. Without being financially aware, consumers can make mistakes resulting in serious consequences such as foreclosure or identity theft.

“National Consumer Protection Week is a great time for Maryland consumers to renew their efforts at becoming financially savvy,” said Attorney General Gansler. “Armed with the right information, Marylanders will make smarter decisions to build a solid financial foundation.”

The top five consumer complaints for 2007 include:

  • Landlord/Property Manager - 629 complaints (3.8%) were filed on landlords and property managers with varying tenant issues such as failing to return security deposits to not providing a habitable place to live with lack of maintenance or excessive damages deducted from deposits. Consumers can download the pamphlet, “Landlord and Tenants: Tips on Avoiding Disputes” at http://www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/landlords.htm or order one through the Consumer Protection Division at (410) 576-6500.
  • Auto Repair - 628 complaints (3.8%) concerned consumer experiences on auto repair. The most common complaints were unsatisfactory workmanship, misdiagnosis of services needed and cars held for servicing damaged or not returned. Other top issues in auto repair were failure to honor express warranty and billed for goods/services not requested or received.
  • General Merchandise - 572 complaints (3.5%) from Marylanders were on general merchandise issues. Failure to deliver any goods or provide any services was the top complaint in this category. Billed for goods/services not requested or received came in second and other complaints varied from failure to honor refund requests to price gouging.
  • Used Auto Dealer - 516 consumers (3.1%) filed complaints on their experiences while buying a used car. Defective/damaged goods, failure to honor implied warranty of merchantability, misrepresentation of material fact and omission of material facts were all big issues. Before purchasing, consumers can request the pamphlet “Buying a Used Car” by calling the Consumer Protection Division at (410) 576-6500.
  • Collection Agency - 474 Marylanders (2.9%) complained about collection agency practices. Consumers often complained of collection agencies attempting to collect debt not owed and inaccurate information reported to credit reporting agencies. Consumers who have trouble with a collection agency can order the Consumer’s Edge issue #117 or online at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/edge117.htm.

The Consumer’s Edge is a bimonthly newsletter focusing on consumer issues. To be added to the mailing list, call (410) 576-6956.

Maryland consumers can file complaints through the Consumer Protection Division at (410) 528-8662 or toll-free in Maryland at 1-888-743-0023. They may also file their complaints online at www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/complaint.htm.



 

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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