Colorado A.G. Weiser Lists Top 10 Consumer Complaints During National Consumer Protection Week

 

March 7, 2022 (DENVER)—Attorney General Phil Weiser today kicked off National Consumer Protection Week by unveiling the list of the top 10 consumer complaints and inquiries his office received in 2021, which included unemployment insurance scams, retail sales related to COVID-19, and automotive sales and services.

Last year, consumers filed 13,970 complaints and inquiries with the Consumer Protection Section in the Colorado Department of Law, a 15.1% increase from 2020.

“One of our foremost responsibilities is protecting consumers,” Attorney General Weiser explained. “National Consumer Protection Week is an important opportunity to educate consumers about our work, help them protect themselves, and put irresponsible actors on notice that we are committed to holding them accountable.”

National Consumer Protection Week, which this year runs March 6-12, is designated by the Federal Trade Commission as a time to help people understand their consumer rights and to make well-informed decisions about money. The attorney general’s office partners with the FTC to help raise awareness about Colorado scams and resources available.

The top 10 types of complaints and inquiries received in 2021 are:

Retail sales, unemployment scams, automotive sales and service, professional and other related services, commercial and residential home repair, vacation and travel, debt collection, healthcare and medical services, telecommunications and real estate sales and services.

Consumer protection actions taken in 2021:

To thwart medical product scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the office investigated Nationwide Medical Supply, Inc. for price gouging and deceptive marketing practices, and reached a settlement with Loveland Medical Clinic for failing to comply with a cease-and-desist order to stop marketing fake COVID-19 cures. Additionally, the office, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, issued cease-and-desist letters to COVID-19 testing sites that failed to be properly certified by the federal government to perform testing and for failing to report test results and cases to CDPHE as required by state law.

To address the pervasive fraud against the state’s unemployment insurance program from the start of the pandemic, the attorney general first looked to help Coloradans address the effects of their personal identity being compromised by publishing an Identity Theft Repair Kit. The attorney general has since partnered with state and federal law enforcement officials and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to launch the Colorado Unemployment Fraud Task Force. The focus of the joint task force is to investigate and prosecute those who engaged in illegal conduct to fraudulently apply for unemployment insurance benefits.

In 2021, investigations by the Consumer Credit Unit in the Consumer Protection Section of the Department of Law revealed several companies failed to refund unearned guaranteed automobile protection (GAP) fees to consumers as required by Colorado law. The department secured more than $9.5 million in consumer refunds from Wells Fargo, more than $1.68 million from BBVA USA (formerly known as Compass Bank), and $121,983 from American Assurance Corporation for failing to provide customers with the full gap benefits they were entitled to.

Last year, more than 200,000 Coloradans received checks in the mail from a 2019 settlement that the attorney general’s office reached with CenturyLink for deceptively overcharging customers for services. More than $8 million was refunded to consumers from the settlement.

StopFraudColorado.gov is a website for the Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Section that is designed to emphasize consumer protection outreach and makes it easier for Coloradans to avoid becoming a victim of fraud while streamlining the process for filing fraud reports. If you notice any scams, fraud, price gouging, or other attempts to take advantage of Coloradans, contact Stop Fraud Colorado at 800-222-4444 or www.StopFraudColorado.gov.

Filed Under: Chamber of CommerceConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedLaw EnforcementMedia Release

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