It’s one of your biggest purchases, and it could be your biggest headache as well.The Consumer Federation of America and the Indiana Attorney General’s office report that auto issues are the top type of consumer complaint for 2012. CFA Director of Consumer Protection Susan Grant says false advertising for new and used cars and towing company disputes are among the many problems.
“Auto repairs that aren’t made properly; used cars that are sold that are total lemons – but because they’re ‘as-is,’ the consumer can’t do anything about it,” said Grant.
Consumer agencies say car shoppers should have used vehicles inspected by an outside mechanic before they make the purchase – or they’re stuck having to fix whatever problems the car has. Abby Kuzma, director of consumer protection for the Indiana Attorney General’s office, says getting a title for a used car after it’s purchased is also a top complaint – and luckily in these situations, it is possible to intervene.
“We’re very effective there, in really helping the consumer to obtain the title – because that is the seller’s responsibility and we are very happy to play that role in assisting the consumer,” said Kuzma.
Kuzma says Internet scams fall in line after complaints about cars. She encourages people not to respond to offers in emails because they can be scams. She also suggests purchasing only from secure websites when payments must be made online.
“Paypal or your credit card – so that you’re protecting your transaction under the Fair Credit Billing Act. And also, save the transaction and confirmation numbers from the purchases. Make a note of time and the contents of the order, so that if there’s something going on, you have all the information at hand – you can make a complaint to us,” Kuzma said.
Kuzma says calls about debt collection, problems with lending and mortgages, and home repair issues round out the top five consumer complaints in Indiana.