Car Issues Lead List of Consumer Complaints


  • Consumer Federation of America Logo Picture

    Consumer Federation of America Logo Picture

    Auto problems top the list of consumer complaints, according to a new report. | August 06, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • A new report by the Consumer Federation of America shows people complain about their cars more than anything else.
  • The report resulted from a survey of complaints lodged with consumer-protection agencies in 20 states.
  • Auto-related complaints included repair-shop fraud, odometer tampering and problems with dealers.

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumers complain about their cars more than anything else, according to a new report by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). The auto-related complaints include repair-shop fraud, odometer tampering and problems with dealers.

The CFA's data came from 40 state, county and local consumer protection agencies in 20 states responding to a survey about complaints lodged from January-December 2012. The report, released on July 31, 2013, tallies the most common complaints registered by the agencies, along with detailed examples.

The CFA study found that automotive issues topped other categories, including Home Improvement/Construction, Credit/Debt, Utilities, Retail Sales, Landlord/Tenant relations and Internet Sales. In all, various oversight agencies saved consumers $97,832,511 in 2012 through complaint mediation, administrative procedures and other enforcement activities.

Lots of anecdotal evidence backed up the report's statistics.

A New Jersey man responded to a dealer's ad offering $4,000 credit for any car "driven, pushed or pulled into the lot," said the report. The ad also listed a car the consumer wanted for $14,999, leading him to believe he'd owe $10,999. Once he got there, the man was told that car was gone, but he was shown another of the same model, which the dealer wrote up for $46,000. A state agency investigated and found that the car's window sticker, showing an actual price of $20,000, had been hidden in the trunk. The customer got the car for $14,999.

An agency in Georgia discovered an auto broker selling vehicles with odometers rolled back and falsified Federal Odometer Disclosure Statements. As a result, 17 consumers were able to rescind their transactions or receive compensation for the reduced value of their vehicles. The total savings amounted to $155,888.

In Los Angeles, a consumer experienced muffler and catalytic converter problems within a week after purchasing a used car. The dealer claimed to make the necessary repairs, but the issue got worse, and other problems cropped up with the ignition, brakes and alignment. When the dealer refused to rectify the situation, a county consumer affairs department stepped in and convinced the dealer to take the car back, refund the customer's down payment and cancel the finance agreement.

Edmunds says: The best policy remains caveat emptor. But if you feel you've been wronged, your local consumer protection agency can step in.

Comments

  • prostreet_ prostreet_ Posts:

    2014 Impala LT Battery leaked down the frame and was eating the 2 trany cooler aluminum lines. Autonation Chevrolet Superstition Springs in Mesa, Az put a new battery and 2 new trany cooler lines on, But after the 4th attempt can not get all of the acid cleaned up. Engine cradle still has no paint in spots and acid still showing on spots. After a day of rain. Went out to the car the next day and when I opened up the drivers door there was a VERY bad odor. Almost wanted to throw up. After looking all over the car found 2" of water were the spare tire is and all of the carpet wet in the trunk. Took it to Autonation Chevrolet Superstition Springs in Mesa, Az. They had it for 2 weeks and they determined I did not have the trunk closed all the way. This trunk will not stay down. What I mean is the spring is so good it's ether closed all the way or open all the way. After that and some research I found GM has put out a #PI1133 trunk water leak. The seal around the rear tail light leaks water into the trunk. So I took it back to the dealer and had to tell them it was not me leaving the trunk opened.

  • prostreet_ prostreet_ Posts:

    2014 Impala LT Battery leaked down the frame and was eating the 2 trany cooler aluminum lines. Autonation Chevrolet Superstition Springs in Mesa, Az put a new battery and 2 new trany cooler lines on, But after the 4th attempt can not get all of the acid cleaned up. Engine cradle still has no paint in spots and acid still showing on spots. After a day of rain. Went out to the car the next day and when I opened up the drivers door there was a VERY bad odor. Almost wanted to throw up. After looking all over the car found 2" of water were the spare tire is and all of the carpet wet in the trunk. Took it to Autonation Chevrolet Superstition Springs in Mesa, Az. They had it for 2 weeks and they determined I did not have the trunk closed all the way. This trunk will not stay down. What I mean is the spring is so good it's ether closed all the way or open all the way. After that and some research I found GM has put out a #PI1133 trunk water leak. The seal around the rear tail light leaks water into the trunk. So I took it back to the dealer and had to tell them it was not me leaving the trunk opened.

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