As part of National Consumer Protection week (March 1—7, 2020), Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today released the Oregon Department of Justice’s annual list of Top Ten Consumer Complaints. In 2019, the Oregon Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Section recovered more than $1.29 million for consumers and small businesses throughout the state. For the first time ever, complaints about “construction contractors”, a category that includes home repairs, construction companies, cleaning and restoration services, and swimming pool and hot tubs sales made the list. In total, the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline received 36,000 phone calls, resulting in more than 6,500 written consumer complaints.
“Scammers, and unfortunately even some businesses, try to find new ways to take advantage of Oregonians,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “They may constantly change their tactics, but it doesn’t make a scam less shocking or violating! We don’t care if somebody was ripped off for $15 dollars, or $1,500 dollars—no consumer should be taken advantage of by a business. Fortunately, we have an entire team who can contact the company on your behalf, request more information, and if necessary, open a case to help you get your money back.”
“This year a new category ‘Construction Contractors’ is included on our list for the first time. For most people, the home you own in is your largest and most valuable investment. That’s why Oregon law requires contractors to be licensed, bonded and insured,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “If you do not feel that a construction contractor or home repair service has played by the rules, please contact our office.” Before hiring a contractor, consumers should also visit the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) website (http://www.oregon.gov/ccb/Pages/index.aspx) or call 503-378-4621 to learn what to look for in a contractor, recognize red flags and more.
To commemorate the week, Oregon DOJ and AARP Oregon are partnering together on Thursday, March 5 for an event where 25 trained staff and volunteers will call Oregonians who have previously been victimized by a fraud or scam to give them information about imposter and telemarketing scam calls. The one-day call center is designed to target Oregonians who may be vulnerable to fraudulent telemarketers and make sure they have accurate information about imposter phone scams, and how to know when a phone call is fake.
Success story: Last year, one consumer in Astoria received $2,500 back for a service plan. In May 2019, the consumer contacted the Oregon Department of Justice complaining about a company she had purchased a service plan who failed to provide the service, but then refused to reimburse her according to the plan. The Oregon DOJ contacted the company and within days they agreed to refund the consumer $2,500. Upon receipt of the check, the consumer wrote to the Department and said: “I am grateful that the Consumer Protection Division exists. This was the second time I have had to file a complaint about a business, and you have helped resolve both issues.”
If you think you have fallen victim to a fraud or scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or call our hotline at 1-877-877-9392.
The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and serves as the state’s law firm. The Oregon DOJ advocates for and protects all Oregonians, especially the most vulnerable, such as children and seniors.