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No-call violations top attorney general's 2011 consumer complaints

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With more than 22,000 complaints, violations of Missouri's no-call law was ranked No. 1 in Attorney General Chris Koster's list of the 10 most common consumer complaints and scams reported to his office in 2011.

According to a news release, many of those violations involved calls to cell phones, which aren't currently covered by the law.

“I have asked the Missouri General Assembly to allow consumers to add their cell phone numbers to the no-call list,” Koster said in the release. “Missourians deserve their privacy.  

"Our no-call law has been incredibly successful in preventing unwanted calls going into consumers’ homes," he added. "Now it is time to take the next step and extend that privacy to cell phones.”

Other top complaints/scams of 2011:
  • Debt collectors, 1,873 complaints: Some consumers indicated harassment for debts not even owed, while others claimed debt agencies were abusive, threatening and called repetitively.
  • Telephone cramming and billing, 1,281 complaints: Cramming refers to small charges on phones bills for services not ordered. Charges can be as small as $1.
  • Credit and debit card, 1,126 complaints: Unauthorized charges on credit and debit cards, such as scams occurring by phone, e-mail or text messages, made up this category.
  • Home repair and remodeling, 926 complaints: Scams involved people going door-to-door asking for money up-front for services such as driveway asphalt work, roof and chimney repairs, and interior remodeling, though they may not have been licensed or were able to provide detailed contracts. The Better Business Bureau's Top 10 scams of 2011 included similar complaints.
  • Mortgage/foreclosure/loan modifications, 862 complaints: Some homeowners filed complaints concerning foreclosures on their homes and the loan modification process. Complaints included excessive requests for paperwork already filed by the borrowed, as well as from consumers who received temporary loan modifications but were unable to receive permanent solutions.
  • Cable/satellite services, 762 complaints: Consumers indicated cable and satellite companies would offer low promotional prices via telephone, but the monthly bills would actually be much higher due to the companies failing to disclose additional services.
  • Lotteries and sweepstakes, 751 complaints: Fake foreign lottery promotions are the most common of these types of scams, in which consumers could be falsely offered a prize or award if they send money for fake charities or for overpriced products or services.
  • Automobile repair, 604 complaints: For those who aren't car savvy, unethical mechanics sometimes convince them that unnecessary repairs are needed.
  • Business opportunity scams, 556 complaints: The types of complaints often stem from get-rich quick schemes, where consumers are lured by promises of easy income.
Consumers can register complaints with the attorney general's office by calling (800) 392-8222 or visiting the office's consumer complaints Web site.[[In-content Ad]]

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