‘Do Not Call' Violators, Telemarketing Floridians' Top 2012 Complaints
Violators of the state’s Do Not Call list and telemarketing were the top consumer complaints by Floridians in 2012, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported Friday.
The department’s consumer assistance center, entering the final weekend of 2012, had fielded 191,200 calls via the 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) hotline and 33,450 emails -- www.800helpfla.com -- this year, of which 50,622 were complaints -- a 21 percent increase from 2011.
Of the complaints, 17,337 were about callers violating the Do Not Call list.
This is the fourth year in a row the Do Not Call list has topped the department’s complaint list, with the 2012 total up from 11,769 a year earlier.
Since April there was no longer any cost to get on the list, which has resulted in more than 330,000 numbers being added to the register, a five-fold jump.
The full complaints to the state list:
1. Do Not Call – 17,337.
2. Telemarketing – 4,159.
3. Communication – 2,392.
4. Landlord/Tenant – 1,564.
5. Sellers of Travel – 1,515.
6. Motor Vehicle Repair – 1,470.
7. Credit/Banking – 1,460.
8. Real Estate Broker/Salesperson – 1,126.
9. Cable – 1,120.
10. Motor Vehicle Sales/Accessories – 1,078.
Overall, the state department noted that 33,251 of the complaints were deemed successfully resolved or closed, with more than $3,858,000 recovered on behalf of Florida consumers this year.
“We’re an important resource for consumers to find information about registered businesses and professionals, as well as learn how they can protect themselves from deceptive business practices,” Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam stated in a release. “In many cases, we can moderate disputes between consumers and businesses and help recover money lost.”