Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the Top 10 Consumer Complaint List for 2000 with sweepstakes "winning" the number one spot, climbing from number eight in 1999. The announcement was made in recognition of National Consumer Week, which runs through Friday.
"Daily, Oregonians are barraged with aggressive marketing of sweepstakes promotions and it has taken a toll on many citizen's checking accounts," Myers said. "Through multiple court actions, we have changed the sweepstakes operations of American Family Publishers, United States Purchasing Exchange, Time, Inc. and most recently, we sued Publishers Clearing House. "
Long distance telephone companies, number one on the list for the last two years, dropped to number four but customers continue to battle problems of "slamming," the unauthorized switching of long distance carriers. Complaints also include billing errors and difficulties with cellular and local telephone service.
New to the Top 10 Complaint List are violations of the "No Call" List law, which became effective January 1, 2000. "We expect to see "No Call" complaints drop off the List in 2001 as we continue to file court actions against telemarketers who violate the new law," Myers said.
For the first time in a decade, complaints against new and used car dealerships dropped off the list.
The 10 most common consumer complaint categories for 2000 and the number of complaints in each category are as follows:
|2.||"No Call" List violations||1,359
|4.||Long Distance Telephone Companies||907
|8.||Pyramids, Gifting Clubs||301
The Department of Justice received over 14,000 written consumer complaints in 2000, an increase from 1999 of more than 4,500. In 2000, the hours for the consumer hotline were doubled from four to eight and a toll-free line was opened. Volunteers and the automated, after-hours information line logged in more than 120,000 telephone inquiries.
Attorney General Myers' annual consumer protection conference, normally held during National Consumer Week, has been scheduled in Medford in fall 2001. The later date will assist in facilitating discussions of the new laws emerging from the 2001 Legislative Session and their impact on Oregon's consumers.
Oregonians wanting to file complaints against unlawful businesses may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Consumer information is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org