DATCP Releases Top Ten Consumer Complaints for 2018

Telemarketing complaints are on the rise (4,860 complaints) and continue to top the annual list of consumer complaints collected by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). More than two out of every five complaints received by the agency in 2018 were in regard to calls from unknown numbers, unwanted sales calls or scam

Landlord/Tenant complaints held steady at the second spot with 1,188 complaints. Complaint allegations were primarily in regard to security deposit-related issues, with tenants claiming that inappropriate amounts were withheld or that a landlord failed to return deposit funds at the
end of a tenancy. Evictions and unauthorized entry were additional issues cited in many complaints.

Telecommunications remains in the number three spot in the Top Ten list with 681 complaints. Complaints were lodged against a wide spectrum of service providers, with customers making allegations about billing disputes, misleading representations, unauthorized charges and performance issues.

Home Improvement moved up one spot to number four in the list with 489 complaints. Home improvement complaints include a wide range of allegations, with consumers alleging that contractors failed to provide the services promised under a contract, charged for services or repairs that were not performed, failed to honor warranties or provided unsatisfactory workmanship.

In only its second year as a formal complaint category, Medical Services jumped two spots to number five with 255 complaints – an increase of more than 30%. These complaints cover services related to clinics, hospitals and professional services in the medical field and were overwhelmingly about billing disputes, misrepresentations and unauthorized charges. 

Rounding out the top ten for 2018:

6.) Identity Theft (250 complaints)
7.) Motor Vehicle Repair (196)
8.) Gas Pumps (169)
9.) Motor Vehicle Sales (155)
10.) Fuel Quality (119)

In all, DATCP received 11,303 complaints to the Bureau of Consumer Protection. The agency returned more than $4.6 million in funds to Wisconsin – the majority of which were returned to consumers in the form of mediated refunds, negotiated settlements or court-ordered restitutions.