(Phoenix, AZ)-- The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has released the top consumer fraud complaints for 2014 in recognition of National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 1-7, 2015. NCPW is a coordinated nationwide campaign that encourages consumers to know their consumer rights and make better-informed purchasing decisions. Attorney General Mark Brnovich will also be providing consumer tips throughout the week to promote the cause.
“While the staff at the Attorney General’s Office fight for consumers every day, NCPW is an opportunity to remind Arizonans that my office will aggressively prosecute individuals and businesses who knowingly violate the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act,” said Brnovich. “When consumers feel they’ve been ripped off or taken advantage of we want to hear from you.”
The top consumer fraud complaints for 2014 were:
- Used Motor Vehicle Sales
- Telemarketing and Business Opportunity Fraud
- Mortgages and Loan Modifications
- Collection Services
- Motor Vehicle Repairs
One of the best ways consumers can protect themselves against consumer fraud and consumer scams is through education and independent research. Below you will find information on how to avoid the most common types of scams. Attorney General Mark Brnovich offers these tips:
Used Motor Vehicle Sales
- Determine the value of the vehicle before you negotiate the purchase price. Check the National Automobile Dealers Association's (NADA) Guides, Edmunds, and Kelley Blue Book.
- Get an independent review of a vehicle's history. Check a trusted database service that gathers information from state and local authorities. Expect to pay a nominal fee for each report. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) maintains a free database that includes flood damage history and other information.
- Hire a trusted mechanic to inspect and test drive the car.
- Always read the contract before you sign it.
Telemarketing and Business Opportunity Fraud
- Don’t feel rushed or pressured to make an immediate decision to purchase something over the telephone. Ask for the information to be sent to you in writing before you agree to buy anything.
- Do not give your credit card, checking account, social security number or other personal identifying information to unknown callers.
Mortgage and Loan Modifications
- Do not pay someone up- front fees for a mortgage modification. There are free and legitimate services available.
- Avoid anyone who tells you to stop paying your mortgage payment or to pay them instead.
- Debt collectors may not contact you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm
- Debt collectors may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices when they try to collect a debt.
- Debt collectors must honor a written request from you to stop further contact.
- You have the right to ask that the debt collector provide proof to you of the debt in writing.
Motor Vehicle Repairs
- Ask for car repair recommendations from people you trust. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the repair shop.
- Get a written, signed estimate before any work is done. The estimate should identify the problem to be repaired, the parts needed and the anticipated labor charge.
Consumers can file a consumer complaint by visiting www.azag.gov or by calling (602) 542-5763 (Phoenix), (520) 628-6504 (Tucson), or toll free outside metro Phoenix, (800) 352-8431.