Telemarketing Calls Plague Consumers

Do telemarketers keep your phone ringing? It’s likely that even though you listed your number on the Do Not Call Registry, unwanted telemarketers still work the phones and find your number. These telemarketing calls plague consumers nationally. 

The Consumer Federation of America (CFI) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NAPI) found Do Not Call Registry violations and telemarketing abuses filled the fastest growing complaint slot in the  consumer complaint survey for 2013.

Do Not Call Registry“Despite the national Do Not Call Registry, strict rules concerning robocalls, and other protections, unwanted and fraudulent phone calls are still plaguing American consumers,” said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection at CFA.

The groups used state and local consumer officials to help gather complaints.  And all seem to agree that we can blame innovations in technology for the barrage of phone calls.

Amber Capoun, president of  North American Consumer Protection Investigators and a legal assistant in the office of the State Banking Commission in Kansas, said, “Internet phone service, Caller ID spoofing software, prepaid cell phones that scammers buy anonymously and discard, auto-dialers and other technology make it easy and inexpensive for crooks to contact U.S. consumers from anywhere in the world.”

The top 10 consumer complaints for 2013 are:

1. Auto: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes

2. Home Improvement/Construction: Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job

3. Credit/Debt: Billing and fee disputes, mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud, credit repair, debt relief services, predatory lending, illegal or abusive debt collection tactics

4. Retail Sales: False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, failure to deliver

5. Services: Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses, failure to perform

6. Utilities: Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas service

7. Landlord/Tenant: Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, illegal eviction tactics

8. (tie) Home Solicitations: Misrepresentations or failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations, do-not-call violations

  1. 8. (tie) Internet Sales: misrepresentations or other deceptive practices, failure to deliver online purchases
  1. 9.  Health Products/Services: Misleading claims, unlicensed practitioners, failure to deliver

10. Fraud: Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home schemes, grant offers, fake check scams, imposter scams and other common frauds

The two groups also put together a separate list of the worst complaints. These complaints either are the most unscrupulous, meanest, or cost the victims the most money.

Top 5 Worst Complaints 

1. Scams against the elderly.
2. Home improvement and construction.
3. Sudden business closings that left consumers in the lurch.
4. Phony sweepstakes and lotteries.
5. Landlord and tenant disputes.

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.