The state attorney general’s office received over 14,000 consumer complaints last year, with price gouging, flight cancellations, and predatory debt collectors topping the list. The office’s annual report revealed that complaints related to retail sales, including online purchases, defective products, and poor customer service, were the most common, with more than 5,200 filed in 2022.
Attorney General Letitia James emphasized the importance of taking each complaint seriously to prevent fraudsters from exploiting New Yorkers. “Scammers tried to take advantage of consumers for personal gain, and we took appropriate action to stop it,” she said in a statement.
Aside from retail-related complaints, the report also showed that more than 3,000 complaints were related to rent security deposits, evictions, and tenant harassment allegations. Debt collection and credit agencies, which include loan scams and identity theft, brought more than 2,800 complaints.
COVID-19 testing facilities, alarm companies, auto sales, internet services, and wireless and residential phone service providers also received a high number of consumer complaints. The report also highlighted issues with underhanded home repair contractors, solar panel installers, airlines, high gasoline prices, and foreclosure lawsuits filed on “zombie second mortgages.”
The attorney general’s office also reminded consumers of their rights, such as the fact that auto dealers cannot mandate the purchase of add-on products, like insurance or service contracts, which are not required to purchase or finance a vehicle. Moreover, they warned that many airlines have been overbooking flights, causing cancellations, delays, and extra costs for passengers. If a flight is canceled or delayed, federal law entitles consumers to a full cash refund, regardless of the reason.
The report serves as a reminder to New Yorkers to remain vigilant when it comes to their consumer rights and to report any fraudulent or abusive practices to the attorney general’s office.
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