Consumer Complaints Are Up, Says the BBB
Nearly one million filed in 2009
Mix a struggling economy with poor business practices, and you can wind up with a lot of unhappy people. In 2009, consumer complaints to the Better Business Bureau increased by 9.7%, to nearly one million, according to its annual report released in March 2010.
“Amidst the housing crisis, high unemployment rate and the chaos on Wall Street, the last year has not been easy on consumers, and the increase in complaints to BBB reflect this troubled economy,” said Stephen A. Cox, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
What were people most upset about? The cell phone industry was the worst offender, getting 37,477 complaints, a 2.1% increase over 2008. The cable and satellite TV industry ranked second, with 32,616 complaints, an 8.7% increase over the previous year. Rounding out the top three, banks received 29,920 complaints, a 42.3% increase.
Two of the three industries saw improvements in their resolution rates over last year, however: cell phone companies resolved 97.4% of complaints, and cable and satellite TV companies resolved 97.2% of them. The resolution rate by banks declined slightly from last year, to 95.2%.
The report also noted that the nearly four million BBB Reliability Reports on businesses across North America were viewed more than 65 million times in 2009. The most commonly researched industries were roofing contractors, general contractors, and mortgage brokers.
The remaining top 10 industries by volume of consumer complaints are as follows:
- Auto dealers, new cars: 26,888 complaints, 84.1% resolved
- Internet shopping: 21,494 complaints, 71.7% resolved
- Collection agencies: 15,797 complaints, 86.6% resolved
- Auto dealers, used cars: 13,686 complaints, 70.8% resolved
- Telephone companies: 13,470 complaints, 96.1% resolved
- Furniture, retail: 13,158 complaints, 78.3% resolved
- Auto repair and service: 12,736 complaints, 65.9% resolved
Published March 19, 2010