TDCI Shares Results from National Survey of Consumer ComplaintsTimeshares/Vacation Clubs Top Tennessee Consumers’ Complaints
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs is sharing today results of a national survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) compiling national consumer complaint information.
Thirty-five agencies (including TDCI) participated in the CFA’s survey which reported the most common consumer complaints, the fastest-growing complaints, and the worst complaints received in 2018. The report identified new kinds of consumer problems, agencies’ greatest achievements, and new laws enacted in the agencies’ jurisdictions last year to protect consumers.
“The Consumer Federation’s survey is a valuable resource for regulators and the public alike because of its real-world information and consumer stories,” said TDCI Interim Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “Additionally, this report shines a light on the good work of our Consumer Affairs team who mediate between consumers and companies. I congratulate them on their diligence in helping assist consumers every day.”
Nationally, the top five complaints most frequently cited as the top problems reported to state and local consumer agencies last year were as follows:
- Auto: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, auto leasing, rentals, and towing disputes.
- Home Improvement/Construction: Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job.
- Retail Sales: False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, failure to deliver.
- Services: Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses, failure to perform.
- (Tie) Landlord/Tenant: Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, illegal eviction tactics; Utilities: Complaints about gas, electric, water and cable billing and service.
In Tennessee, the top complaint area tracked was timeshares/vacation clubs. The CFA report cites a successful mediation in Tennessee involving an older person who could no longer travel to use the timeshare or afford to continue making the payments, but the timeshare company refused to terminate the contract. The Division of Consumer Affairs mediated the issue with the timeshare company, which ultimately agreed to cancel the contract and forgive the entire balance of $57,618.
If consumers are considering buying a timeshare, the Division of Consumer Affairs offers the following tips:
- Consider your needs and your means. A timeshare is a binding contract. While you might be excited about using it now and in the next few months, will you feel that way in five or 10 years? More importantly, especially with rising maintenance fees, will you be able to afford it.
- Research the timeshare seller and the property you’re considering. Does it align with the qualities and location you desire?
- Check to see if the state you are considering signing a timeshare contract in requires a special timeshare sales license and verify the salesperson is properly licensed. In Tennessee, a timeshare sales person must be licensed through the Tennessee Real Estate Commission and can be verified at verify.tn.gov.
- Don’t be pressured to sign a contract immediately without time to read what you are agreeing to and carefully consider the provisions. Make sure the written documents accurately reflect any verbal promises the salesperson told you.
The Division of Consumer Affairs is dedicated to advocating, educating and protecting Tennessee Consumers. Call 1(800) 342-8385 for more details. For more information on the consumer complaint process, visit www.tn.gov/consumer.