Ditch the Pitch
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The numbers are in. For the calendar year of 2018, South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) received 3,748 complaints and saved/refunded consumers $2,018,694.84. This data and additional information on complaints received by SCDCA are featured in the Consumer Federation of America’s (CFA) annual Consumer Complaint Survey Report. This report gives readers the opportunity to look at a snapshot of issues consumers experienced in South Carolina’s marketplace and compare it with other states.
The 2018 Consumer Complaint Survey Report includes data from 35 consumer protection agencies, together tallying 1,148,848 complaints filed across the country and resulting in savings or refunds to consumers of at least $106,863,694. South Carolina followed the national trend of vehicle complaints being the number one complaint category with 595 vehicle related complaints recorded. The “Real World Complaints” section of the report features a specific vehicle complaint received by SCDCA involving a used car that had an open/unresolved recall on it when it was sold to the consumer. Though SCDCA was able to obtain positive outcome for the consumer, it is an important reminder to always do your own research before purchasing a used car, including requesting its service records and having it looked at by an independent mechanic.
Additional South Carolina highlights in the report include:
• a review of the 2018 legislation requiring, among other items, SCDCA to collect and report on specific data from complaints involving homeowners’ associations; and
• a discussion of SCDCA’s investigation that led to a 2018 federal indictment against a company that defrauded consumers through foreclosure rescue/rent-to-own scams.
Here is a list of the top ten complaint categories as well as a sampling of SCDCA data shared in the survey:
The 2018 Consumer Complaint Survey Report was released on July 30, 2019 and can be found at https://consumerfed.org/consumer-complaint-survey-resources/.
Consumers are encouraged to contact SCDCA directly with complaints regarding products or services purchased for family or household use. To file a complaint, visit www.consumer.sc.gov and click FILE A COMPLAINT. To see if a business has complaints against it, consumers should take advantage of the Search Complaints tool on the Consumer Information page of SCDCA’s website.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs aims to protect consumers from inequities in the marketplace through advocacy, complaint mediation, enforcement and education. To file a complaint or get information on consumer issues, visit www.consumer.sc.gov or call toll-free,1 (800) 922-1594.