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Published: Monday, 2/18/2008

Credit, financial issues lead Michigan consumer complaints


LANSING - Credit and financial concerns continued to be the top consumer complaints made to the Michigan attorney general in 2007.

Mike Cox's office compiled a top 10 list of consumer complaint categories being released today from more than 20,000 written complaints and inquiries. The department also fielded about 85,700 consumer calls last year.

The No. 1 category involved complaints related to credit reports, collections, billing and finance charges, predatory lending, and identity theft.

The state's Consumer Protection Division also got increasing complaints about cable and satellite TV. The category had the third-highest number of consumers complaints in 2006, but the second-highest in 2007.

Complaints about vehicles - advertising, warranties, and defective cars, or "lemons" - and gas prices, utility rates, and billing errors also increased.

Mr. Cox said his staff put out 17 alerts last year warning consumers of rip-offs and other scams. He said a recent Federal Trade Commission survey shows that 14 percent of adults fall victim to fraud every year.

Mr. Cox recommended that residents safeguard their personal information, never send money to collect prizes, order free credit reports, insist that contract language match what an advertisement or salesman says, and never fall for sales pitches requiring them to act now or lose the chance forever.

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