The office says it assisted more than 7,400 Arkansans with their consumer complaints last year, returning more than $1.7 million to them as a result of the office's informal mediation and dispute resolution efforts.
Concerned Arkansas consumers contacted the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division for help in handling legitimate business disputes, and sometimes, to report scams and suspected fraud. Investigators with the Consumer Protection Division aid each consumer that files a complaint in attempting to resolve the complaint.
In conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this Consumer Alert to announce the 10 most common types of complaints fielded by his office last year.
"Our Consumer Protection Division interacts with and assists hundreds of Arkansas consumers daily, and those consumers have concerns that deserve our attention and assistance," McDaniel said. "Whether they visit GotYourBackArkansas.org or call us directly, we want consumers to know that we will investigate improper activity and help try to positively resolve their concerns."
McDaniel said that he hoped consumers would take advantage of the tips and resources available at GotYourBackArkansas.org in advance of any consumer transaction. There is information available to address each of the top 10 categories of complaints.
The top 10 most common complaints from last year, by category, were:
- Automobile sales, service, financing, and repairs
- Debt collection
- Payday lending
- Home improvement, repair and construction
- Landline and wireless telephone services
- Mortgages, foreclosures and home financing
- Health care
- Credit and credit repair services
- Appliances, furnishings and electronics
- Cable TV and satellite services
Additionally, a number of consumers report falling victim to illegal "yo-yo sales," a term used to describe when a car buyer drives a vehicle off the lot with an agreement that financing will be finalized at a later date, then returns to find that the terms of the agreement have changed. Often, when the consumer returns to complete the sale, financing costs are higher than the costs originally quoted.
Debt collection also always ranks among the top complaints, with consumers reporting harassing tactics, attempts to collect old, time-barred debt or problems with collectors misidentifying the party from whom they are seeking money.
As to the third most common complaint, McDaniel continues his efforts to stop illegal payday lending in Arkansas. Though storefront payday lenders have exited the state as a result of the Attorney General's efforts, some online lenders still actively court Arkansas consumers. McDaniel has ongoing lawsuits against online lenders and companies that seek to collect on illegal payday loan debt.
Click here for more information about consumer issues on the Attorney General's website.