Colorado consumers faced a surge of problems with goods and services in 2023, according to the latest report from the state attorney general’s office. The office received 17,941 consumer complaints last year, a 28% increase from 2022 and the highest number ever recorded.
Retail sales top the list of complaints
The most common source of consumer complaints was retail sales, with 1,676 complaints filed in 2023. These complaints involved issues such as unauthorized memberships and subscriptions, service and delivery problems, and cancellation disputes. Many consumers reported being charged for products or services they did not order or receive, or being unable to cancel or return unwanted items.
The attorney general’s office advised consumers to be careful when shopping online, especially from unfamiliar websites or sellers. Consumers should also review their credit card and bank statements regularly and report any unauthorized or fraudulent charges.
Home services and repair follow closely behind
The second-highest category of consumer complaints was home services and repair, with 958 complaints in 2023. These complaints included general contracting and remodeling, cooling, heating, and handyperson services. Some consumers complained about poor workmanship, incomplete or delayed projects, or overcharging for services.
The attorney general’s office recommended consumers to do their research before hiring any home service or repair provider. Consumers should check the provider’s license, insurance, and references, and get a written contract that specifies the scope, cost, and timeline of the work.
Professional services also cause consumer dissatisfaction
The third-highest category of consumer complaints was professional services, with 919 complaints in 2023. These complaints covered product and service warranties, business support, and legal-related services. Some consumers reported being misled or deceived by false or exaggerated claims, or being charged for services they did not receive or need.
The attorney general’s office urged consumers to be wary of any unsolicited offers or solicitations for professional services, and to verify the credentials and reputation of any provider they hire. Consumers should also read and understand any contracts or agreements they sign, and keep copies of all documents and receipts.
Automobile sales and services rank fourth
The fourth-highest category of consumer complaints was automobile sales and services, with 826 complaints in 2023. These complaints involved auto purchases, service, repair, and rentals. Some consumers reported being sold defective or damaged vehicles, or being charged for unnecessary or substandard repairs.
The attorney general’s office advised consumers to shop around and compare prices and options before buying or renting a vehicle, and to inspect the vehicle thoroughly and test-drive it before signing any papers. Consumers should also ask for a written estimate and warranty for any auto service or repair, and check the provider’s rating and reviews with the Better Business Bureau.
Other categories of consumer complaints
The remaining categories of consumer complaints in 2023 were:
- Vacation and travel, with 722 complaints
- Debt collection, with 711 complaints
- Health care services, with 678 complaints
- Telecommunications, with 664 complaints
- Real estate, with 621 complaints
- Other, with 1,166 complaints
The attorney general’s office encouraged consumers to report any problems or scams they encounter to the office’s Consumer Protection Section, which can be reached at 800-222-4444 or online at stopfraudcolorado.gov. The office also provides consumer education and outreach programs to help consumers protect themselves from fraud and deception.