AUTOMOBILE SALES COMPLAINTS TOP NACAA/CFA's ANNUAL CONSUMER COMPLAINT LIST

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 24, 2003
Contacts:
Elizabeth Owen, NACAA, 202-347-7396
Jean Ann Fox, CFA, 202-387-6121

WASHINGTON, DC The twelfth annual consumer complaint survey conducted by the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators (NACAA) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA) reveals that new and used car auto sales topped the list of consumer complaints filed with state and local consumer protection agencies last year. Internet and e-commerce complaints made the top ten list for the first time in 2002.

Complaints about home improvement companies rated second and were the fastest growing type of complaint, followed by auto repairs, credit and credit repair, and advertising/telemarketing. Rounding out the top ten most frequent causes of complaints were debt collections, big-ticket household goods, telecommunications, and real estate/landlord tenant complaints.

"Consumer problems with cell phone plans, online auctions and purchases made over the Internet are catching up with perennial complaints about big ticket purchases," Jean Ann Fox, Director of Consumer Protection for CFA, said.

The 43 consumer agencies sampled in this survey handled over 300,000 individual complaints in 2002, and were able to successfully return to consumers $130 million. Growth in complaints continues to outstrip increases in budget or staff.

"This is money consumers never would have gotten back had it not been for the successful intervention and complaint handling of these government agencies," according to Elizabeth Owen, NACAA Executive Director.

The complete NACAA/CFA report is available online at www.consumerfed.org.

NACAA is a membership organization of consumer protection agencies at all levels of government. This survey report is based on 43 NACAA members' responses to questions about their 2002 complaint records.

CFA is a non-profit association of 300 consumer groups, with a combined membership of more than 50 million people. CFA was founded in 1968 to advance the consumers' interest through advocacy and education.