BBB announces Top Ten Complaint Categories

March 06, 2014

Financial Services Tops List Again; Economy Continue to Leave Consumers Vulnerable

NEW YORK- The Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York has announced its annual top ten complaint categories, listing those business categories which received the most complaints in 2013. The announcement was made during National Consumer Protection Week (March 2-8, 2014), a coordinated campaign that encourages consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions.

For the fifth year in a row Financial Services was the most complained about business category, with 5,550 complaints filed by consumers with the Metro NY BBB.  The complaints reflect marketplace issues confronting consumers as they engaged with banks, accountants, insurance providers, mortgage and investment brokers, debt consolidation companies, collection agencies, as well as firms offering loans, credit card plans, portfolio management, and tax preparation services. Complaints about firms in this category usually involve non-delivery of product or service, dissatisfaction with product or service received, credit and billing issues, advertising, failure to provide promised adjustments, selling practices and failure to provide service.

The full top ten complaint categories list for the Metro New York BBB for 2013 is as follows:

  1. Financial Services
  2. Publishing and Communications
  3. Retail 
  4. Consumer Electronics
  5. Internet Sales and Services          
  6. Health and Beauty
  7. Automotive   
  8. Home Improvement and Construction
  9. Mail Order, Marketing and Promotions
  10. Household and Office Furnishings   

The Publishing and Communications category ranked second, with almost 3,700 complaints made to the Metro NY BBB.  This category covers cable television service, broadcast, online and print media publishers, terrestrial and satellite radio, television stations, and cellular and traditional telephone service providers. Complaints about firms in this category generally involve non-delivery of ordered merchandise or services, credit and billing issues, selling practices and failure to provide promised adjustments.

The Retail category was in third place with more than 3,180 complaints.  This category consists of retailers such as department stores, convenience stores, newsstands, book stores, variety stores, consignment shops, apparel retailers, toy stores, book stores, video sales & rental, shoe stores, baby accessories, and other types of retail establishments. Complaints in this category concern credit and billing issues, advertising and selling practices.

The Metro New York BBB received a total of 54,000 complaints in 2013 from consumers all over the world about businesses headquartered here, a decrease of 11% from 2012.  Consumers made 4.3 million inquiries to the Metro New York BBB about businesses via the internet, phone, and in-person visits, an increase of over 30% from 2012.

“We experienced another year of increasing consumer inquiries and decreasing complaints to the Metro New York BBB.  It appears that consumers may be taking advantage of BBB resources to help them make informed buying decisions, which, may be resulting in fewer complaints being filed with us,” said Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York.