When New Yorkers agree to buy a car or something on the internet…or pay up front to have some service or repair done, they expect to get what they pay for. But people made more than 19,000 complaints to state consumer protection about consumer frauds. And topping the Top 10 Consumer Fraud list statewide were problems buying over the internet and shady dealings buying, leasing or fixing a vehicle. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reports our area had a different top concern.
“In the Syracuse area frauds related to home improvement work were the top complaint we received. In the last year we reached settlements with over 200 home improvement contractors for violating the home improvements contract law. We’ve gotten money back for homeowners and imposed penalties on the fraudsters. Homeowners need to know their rights and contractors need to follow the law.”
The other top local fraud concerns were 50 complaints for various services; 47 for landlord problems with rent and security deposits; 35 complaints regarding furniture and appliance purchases; and 28 regarding automobiles. Schneiderman says his office will go after anyone using deceptive practices.
Top 10 Fraud Complaints Statewide:
1. Internet -- 4753
(privacy issues; spyware; consumer frauds)
2. Automobile -- 2614
(buying; leasing; repair; service contracts; rentals)
3. Credit -- 2295
(debt collection; credit card billing; payday loans; identity theft)
4. Consumer-Related Services -- 2158
(security systems; restaurant services; tech repairs; dating services)
5. Mortgage -- 1748
(mortgage modifications; loan broker fraud; foreclosures)
6. Landlord / Tenant -- 1733
(deposit releases; tenant harassment)
7. Furniture / Major Household Appliances -- 1168
8. Home Repair / Construction -- 995
(home improvement services not delivered/done poorly)
9. Retail Sales -- 913
( food; clothing; rent to own; wholesale clubs; price gouging)
10. Mail Order -- 816
(purchases made online or from a catalog)
The state top 10 list and suggestions on how to avoid frauds are at the Attorney General’s website: AG.NY.gov.