Fla.’s top 10 consumer complaints for 2013

Fla.’s top 10 consumer complaints for 2013

"Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net"
“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 8, 2014 – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released the top 10 consumer complaints filed with the state this year. Landlord/tenant issues and real estate broker/salesperson issues ranked No. 5 and 6, respectively.

Complaints about violators of the Do Not Call list – a service where consumers register their phone number to limit business phone calls at home – have topped the list for four consecutive years. This year saw an increase of more 1,000 complaints growing from 17,772 in 2012 to 18,862 in 2013. The increase in complaints is consistent with the increase in subscribers to the Florida Do Not Call List.

Overall, consumers filed 47,226 complaints with the department’s 1-800-HELP-FLA consumer hotline from Jan. 1 through Dec. 20, 2013:

1. Do Not Call – 18,862

2. Telemarketing – 3,626
3. Fuel – 2,708
4. Communications – 2,339
5. Landlord/Tenant – 1,719
6. Real Estate Broker/Salesperson – 1,572

7. Cable – 1,483
8. Credit/Banking – 1,482
9. MV Sales/Accessories – 1,466
10. Travel/Vacation Plans – 1,436

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam says his staff looks into complaints and, last year, “more than $3,477,000 was recovered on behalf of Florida consumers.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information. The assistance center is staffed with analysts who file complaints on behalf of the consumer, respond to questions about programs and regulations under the department, provide information on a variety of topics or direct callers to the appropriate government agency.

Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).

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