The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 126,100 total consumer complaints in 2021, submitted in writing or via phone call. The Consumer Complaint Unit received 86,856 complaints and inquiries and the No-Call Unit received 39,244 complaints.
The Attorney General’s Office has advocates who take complaints and work actively to mediate those complaints between consumers and businesses or individuals. When mediation efforts are unsuccessful and there are credible allegations of potential violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, the Attorney General’s Office has investigators to investigate instances of fraud and attorneys to file lawsuits or criminal charges when applicable.
In 2021, the Consumer Protection Section obtained $17,342,241.90 in judgments/settlements for the State of Missouri and recovered $13,365,467.61 in restitution for Missouri citizens.
“The Missouri Attorney General’s Office continues to be a fierce advocate for Missouri consumers,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Each year, my Office works to address thousands and thousands of consumer complaints, obtain restitution for affected consumers wherever possible, and hold bad actors accountable.”
Consumers who wish to file a complaint can do so online at ago.mo.gov or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222.
Top 10 Consumer Complaints in 2021 by industry were:
No-Call Complaints (39,244)
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 39,244 complaints from consumers regarding illegal telemarketing calls and No-Call violations in 2021. Complaints involve phone calls to Missouri residents by businesses or organizations soliciting the purchase of goods or services.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 1,727 complaints from consumers regarding retail and wholesale companies. Most of the complaints involved purchases made through the internet, telephone, or mail and involved late deliveries or products that were never delivered. Other complaints involved the purchases of appliances, furniture, and other items with warranty problems, that were defective, or that did not work as advertised. Other retail-related complaints included issues with rebates, coupons, and gift cards.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 1,611 complaints from consumers regarding automobiles, automotive dealers, and automotive repair shops. Automotive complaints often involve failure to deliver titles in a timely manner from the dealership. Other complaints involve shoddy repair work and service issues.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 1,512 complaints regarding mail and phone solicitations for publications and subscriptions. These complaints generally involve the receipt of mail and phone solicitations regarding sweepstakes, lottery, and other solicitation scams. Most involved scammers promising a valuable prize or high-dollar award to entice consumers to send money, buy overpriced products or services, or contribute to a phony charity.
Real Estate and Construction – (1,427)
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 1,427 complaints from consumers regarding home repair, construction, and real estate. Complaints involving home repair contractors are among the most common type of complaints received by the office. These types of complaints involve those who ask for money upfront and provide little to no work, shoddy workmanship, and/or fail to honor home warranties.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 1,212 complaints from consumers regarding debt collection companies, credit repair, and disputes with financial institutions. Complaints under this category involve foreclosures, debt collection, loan servicing, and other products, services, and practices by banks, mortgage companies, debt collectors, service providers and other financial institutions. Our office mediates complaints regarding loan modifications and foreclosures and will attempt to defer fees or foreclosures when appropriate. Debt collector complaints include allegations of harassing collectors who threaten the consumer. Complaints regarding financial institution and banks involve the imposition of fees and other charges occurring without notice to, or the consent of, consumers.
Communications/Technology/Online Services (1,081)
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 1,081 complaints from consumers regarding communications, technology, and online services in 2020. Many complaints related to telephone cramming and billing practices where consumers received a phone bill for services that they did not order or were charged unauthorized fees on their telephone bill from third parties. Other complaints related to billing disputes and misleading promotions
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 895 complaints from consumers regarding timeshare exit companies, timeshare companies, and travel clubs. Complaints involved allegations that companies promised to resell timeshares and failed to do so, that companies failed to provide deeds for timeshares that consumers purchased, and that companies charged undisclosed fees or unexpectedly and continuously increased fees for maintenance and other related services. Complaints also involved the sale of travel club memberships that promised discounts, opportunities, or services that were worthless or far less than promised.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 797 health-related complaints from consumers in 2020. These complaints involved healthcare industry complaints, including billing issues regarding hospitals and doctor visits, supplemental purchases, and disputes regarding health insurance payments.
Professional Services (689)
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 689 complaints related to professional services. Those complaints involved concerns with moving companies, towing, funeral homes/cemeteries, and special events.