BBB: Consumer complaints increased by 9.7 percent in 2009
From press release
According to an annual report released March 8 by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), consumer complaints to the organization increased by 9.7 percent in 2009. Not only did the BBB receive nearly 1 million complaints filed by disgruntled customers last year, consumers turned to the non-profit more than 65 million times for help researching businesses across North America.
“Amidst the housing crisis, high unemployment rate and the chaos on Wall Street, the last year has not been easy on consumers and the increase in complaints to the BBB reflect this troubled economy,” said Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the BBB serving Chicago and northern Illinois. “Now, more than ever, struggling families should rely on the BBB to find businesses they can trust and to help their voice be heard in the marketplace.”
The cell phone industry received the largest number of complaints in 2009 with 37,477, a 2.1 percent increase over last year. The cable and satellite TV industry ranked second with 32,616 complaints, an 8.7 percent increase over the previous year. Rounding out the top three, banks received 29,920 complaints, a 42.3 percent increase over the previous year.
While cell phone and the cable and satellite TV industries along with banks received a high volume of complaints, two of the three industries saw improvements in their resolution rates over the previous year. Cell phone companies resolved 97.4 percent of complaints; the cable and satellite TV industry resolved 97.2 percent. The resolution rate by banks declined slightly to 95.2 percent.
The report also reveals that BBB Reliability Reports—which are available online for free at www.bbb.org and contain information on a business’s accreditation status, letter-grade rating and complaint history—are increasingly popular as a free tool for consumers to research the trustworthiness of businesses. The nearly 4 million BBB Reliability Reports on businesses across North America were viewed more than 65 million times in 2009. The most popular industries researched through BBB were roofing contractors, general contractors and mortgage brokers.
Following are the top 10 industries by volume of consumer complaints filed across North America with the BBB in 2009:
1. Cellular Phone Service & Equipment—37,477 total complaints; 2.1 percent change over 2008; 97.4 percent of complaints resolved
2. Television: Cable, CATV and Satellite—32,616 total complaints; 8.7 percent change over 2008; 97.2 percent of complaints resolved
3. Banks—29,920 total complaints; 42.3 percent change over 2008; 95.2 percent of complaints resolved
4. Auto Dealers-New Cars—26,888 total complaints; minus 2.4 percent change over 2008; 84.1 percent of complaints resolved
5. Internet Shopping—21,494 total complaints; 9.4 percent change over 2008; 71.7 percent of complaints resolved
6. Collection Agencies—15,797 total complaints; minus 3.3 percent change over 2008; 86.6 percent of complaints resolved
7. Auto Dealers-Used Cars—13,686 total complaints; 2.5 percent change over 2008; 70.8 percent of complaints resolved
8. Telephone Companies—13,470 total complaints; 11.2 percent change over 2008; 96.1 percent of complaints resolved
9. Furniture-Retail—13,158 total complaints; minus 2.9 percent change over 2008; 78.3 percent of complaints resolved
10. Auto Repair & Service—12,736 total complaints; 9.5 percent change over 2008; 65.9 percent of complaints resolved
For a complete industry breakdown of all complaints filed with the BBB in 2009, and previous years, go to www.bbb.org/statistics.
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