In conjunction with the first day of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today released the Oregon Department of Justice’s (DOJ) list of Top Ten Consumer Complaints for 2020. Due to allegations of price-gouging, this year includes — for the first time — a new category: Grocery, Food and Beverage.
- $650,000 returned to Oregon consumers who filed complaints with the DOJ consumer Protection Hotline
- 31,868 phone calls to the DOJ Consumer Protection Hotline
- 7,100 written consumer complaints
- 560 reports of price-gouging to the temporary DOJ Price Gouging Hotline
- 36 cease-and-desist letters sent to businesses that engaged in price -gouging
“2020 was definitely a year for the record books! Thank you to Oregonians for staying vigilant and keeping your eyes out for scammers as well as for basic unfair consumer practices by businesses,” said AG Rosenblum. “No one should feel ‘ripped off’ and that’s why we follow up with each and every complaint that’s filed with us, either by phone or online—and, yes—even throughout the pandemic. Between the year-long pandemic and the awful fall wildfires, there were plenty of new opportunities to take advantage of Oregonians, many of whom were in desperate need of hotel rooms, cleaning supplies, masks, toilet paper and even bottled water. Some businesses clearly took advantage of these opportunities to significantly—and unlawfully—increase the price of goods,” Rosenblum added.
2020 TOP TEN LIST:
- Telecommunications (1035 complaints)
- Auto Sales & Repairs (602 complaints)
- Imposter Scams (534 complaints)
- Health and Medical (526 complaints)
- Financial, Credits and Lending (513 complaints)
- Grocery, Food and Beverage (416 complaints)
- Travel Services & Products (331 complaints)
- Real Estate & Property Management (218 complaints)
- Recreation (183 complaints)
- Construction Contractors (170 complaints)
In March 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, DOJ learned some businesses were charging exorbitant prices for essential products like toilet paper and cleaning disinfectant. At our request, the Governor issued an order activating Oregon’s price-gouging statute. Days later, DOJ warned Amazon, Facebook, Ebay, and Craigslist that they were not exempt from price gouging laws and urged businesses to refund or credit cancellations due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
Within a few months of the beginning of the pandemic, DOJ also announced settlements with six companies and medical clinics selling unproven Covid-19 treatments. In November DOJ settled with two convenience store chains, a Portland-based sock merchant, a travel business, and a skincare company.
If you have information about, or think you may have fallen victim to a fraud or scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or call our Consumer Complaint Hotline at 1-877-877-9392.