In honor of National Consumer Protection week (March 4—10, 2018), Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today released the annual Oregon Department of Justice’s 2017 Top Ten Consumer Complaints list. For the first time, a new category of consumer complaints “Travel Accommodations” made the list. This new category includes complaints related to the August 2017 solar eclipse, but it also includes complaints against car rental companies and hotels.
For the third year in a row, imposter scam calls also topped this list, with 5,378 complaints from Oregonians last year. Imposter scam calls can impersonate a number of people, including the IRS, grandchildren, police, or other law enforcement.
The full list can be downloaded here for distribution: https://www.doj.state.or.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/DOJ-Top_Ten_Complaints_2017.pdf
“As we celebrated the solar eclipse last year, there were companies who tried to take advantage of consumers by cancelling reservations, or changing the price of hotel rooms, food and rental cars. Based on the high number of complaints we received, we were ultimately able to get money back, or hotel reservations reinstated, for hundreds of individuals travelling to Oregon for the eclipse,” said AG Rosenblum. “Our consumer complaint hotline and website is always waiting. If you ever have questions about a company, or a business practice, let us know—we want to help you.”
The full list of 2017 complaints:
- Imposter Scam Calls
- Financial Services
- Motor Vehicle Sales
- Fraudulent Entity
- Investment Opportunities
- Health Related
- Auto Repair
- Travel Accommodations
- Home Ownership Issues
For travel related complaints, consumers should remember that when they book something online, a website may not know if all of the rooms are booked. During big events, or peak season, a consumer should contact the hotel directly and get confirmation in writing along with an assigned room number. It is always advised, when possible, to book directly with the hotel.
Oregon has one of the most robust consumer education and prevention programs in the country. It focuses on elder abuse, as well as scams directed at Oregonians whose first language is not English.
“It is so important for all of us to remind our neighbors, family and friends that if somebody calls you out of the blue on the phone and asks for money or a pre-paid card—JUST HANG UP. It is probably a scam, even if the person claims they are law enforcement, the IRS or anybody else,” said AG Rosenblum.
If you would like consumer protection education and prevention materials, or if think you have fallen victim to a fraud or scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.OregonConsumer.gov or call our consumer hotline at 1-877-877-9392.