Last year, about 500,000 more consumer complaints were filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) than in 2014, bringing the 2015 total to approximately 3 million filings. Over the past five years, the increase has been dramatic, as FTC consumer complaints have reportedly increased nearly 130 percent since 2010.1
While this snowballing trend may indicate an actual increase in bad business practices and fraud schemes in the U.S., the trend may also be in part the result of more consumers understanding their rights.
Breaking Down the Numbers: Top 5 Consumer Complaints Filed in 2015
Taking a closer look at the FTC consumer complaint data for 2015reveals that the following were the top five complaint categories last year (with the percentage of those complaints in relation to the total included in parentheses):
- Abusive debt collection practices (29%)
- Identity theft (16%)
- Imposter scams (11%)
- Complaints related to telephone & mobile phone services (9%)
- Scams related to lotteries, sweepstakes or giveaways (5%).
While these top five categories covered about 70 percent of the consumer complaints filed in 2015, the remaining 30 percent pertained to one of the FTC’s 25 other complaint categories.
2015 FTC Consumer Complaints: Additional Key Findings
- For the first time in years, debt collection complaints displaced identity theft as the top consumer complaint.
- Fraud-related complaints (across all categories) were the most prevalent, comprising about 40 percent of all consumer complaints filed in 2015.
- Per capita, Florida has the highest reported rate of fraud in the U.S., followed by Georgia and Michigan. California is ranked eighth.
How the FTC Is Addressing the Complaint
Making an effort to address consumer complaints, the FTC has done various things, including (but not limited to):
- Launching an updated version of IdentityTheft.gov in January 2016 to empower consumers to create a personalized identity theft recovery plan
- Partnering with enforcement agencies across the U.S. to bring more than 130 actions against alleged violators
- Permanently banning 30 debt collection companies (and/or individuals) from the debt collection industry (due to their abusive practices)
Contact the Los Angeles Consumer Attorneys at Broslavsky & Weinman, LLP
If you have a consumer complaint, you can either file your complaint with the FTC or contact an attorney.
You can call our Los Angeles consumer attorneys at (310) 575-2550 or email us via the contact form on this page to schedule a free initial consultation.
1: According to the FTC’s annual Consumer Sentinel Network Reports