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Top 10 scams Utahns report to the state

Published March 5, 2014 9:30 am

Complaints • Telemarketing and coaching services lead the annual list.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Telemarketing and Coaching Services led the list of the top consumer complaints compiled by state regulators.

The Utah Division of Consumer Protection released its annual list on Tuesday to its Top 10 complaints from Utah consumer to coincide with National Consumer Protection Week. Complaints to the Federal Trade Commission from Utahns also were compiled.

"Aggressive fraudsters continue to follow news headlines and try to trap consumers with offers too good to refuse," said Francine A. Giani, executive director of the Department of Commerce. "Consumers need to be vigilant in protecting their identity, personal information and finances by asking questions and always getting the terms in writing."

The Top 10 from the Division of Consumer Protection are:

1. Telemarketing • A recent trend involves telemarketers calling consumers and telling them their computer is filled with viruses and requires repair.

2. Coaching Services • Some of the deceptive practices common to this type of complaint are the misrepresentation of potential earnings and the qualifications or experience of the coaches.

3. Alarm Systems • In many instances, the company sells a new service as if it were an upgrade to an existing service resulting in the consumer being obligated to pay on two separate contracts.

4. E-Commerce/Internet Offers • The pitch is made in the privacy of the consumer's home where the consumer is less guarded. The method of payment is quick and easy and consumers have little recourse if they find themselves victims of deceptive practices.

5. Retail Sales • Deceptive practices include the failure to deliver products during the time frame represented, providing a product or service that is only similar to the product or service purchased and failure to honor warranties.

6. Home Improvement/Repair • Deceptive practices include the failure of the contractor to provide the service after receiving the deposit, the failure to honor warranties and the refusal by the contractor to continue working until the consumer agrees to a higher price.

7. Deposits/Refunds • Complaints include the failure to make refunds when required and the failure to disclose refund policies.

8. Travel/Vacation/Timeshares • Failure of travel or vacation clubs to provide what is promised at the price quoted is a deceptive act, and a common cause of consumer complaints.

9. Auto Repairs/Sales • Failure to disclose refund policies, failure to obtain consumer's express authorization prior to repair, unnecessary repairs; misrepresentations in advertising or sales, aggressive sales practices, contracts with incapacitated or vulnerable purchaser.

10. Debt Collection • Con artists will send out letters to consumers with familiar names and demand payment for debts that do not exist.

tharvey@sltrib.com

Twitter: @TomHarveySltrib