CONSUMER TOP 10: Telemarketing complaints up 17 percent

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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY & WMTV) - More and more Wisconsin residents are voicing frustrations with telemarketers.

Telemarketing once again topped the state's list of consumer complaints.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says the agency received 4,860 telemarketing complaints in 2018. That's a 17 percent increase from 2017.

More than two of every five consumer complaints were about unknown numbers, unwanted sales or scams.

“Until a fix is identified, many Wisconsin consumers report having some success in minimizing the disruption of robocalls by using call-blocking apps for their mobile phones and letting unknown calls ring through to voicemail,” said Lara Sutherlin, administrator for the Division of Trade and Consumer Protection.

CLICK HERE to file a consumer complaint.

Also seeing an increase in complaints in 2018 was Medical Services. Complaints were up 30 percent from 2017.

These complaints including billing disputes, misrepresentations and unauthorized charges.

“When you have transactions that involve hospitals, specialty clinics, independent providers and more, the paperwork can become complex quickly,” said Sutherlin. “Medical bills and terminology are puzzling for many consumers, and we are increasingly hearing from Wisconsin residents who are seeking help with having their voices heard in these transactions.”

Here's the TOP 10 LIST of consumer complaints for 2018:
RANK ... COMPLAINT ... 2018 ... 2017

1 Telemarketing 4,860 4,147
(See above)
2 Landlord/Tenant 1,188 1,141
(security deposit-related issues, evictions and unauthorized entry)
3 Telecommunications 681 763
(Billing disputes, misleading representations, unauthorized charges and performance issues)
4 Home Improvement 489 403
(Contractors failed to provide the services promised under a contract, charged for services or repairs that were not performed, failed to honor warranties or provided unsatisfactory workmanship)
5 Medical Services 255 195
(See above)
6 Identity Theft 250 453
(fraud, tax identity theft, misuse of Social Security numbers and unauthorized account access)
7 Motor Vehicle Repair 196 182
(Unauthorized charges, workmanship, and failures to provide services or honor warranties)
8 Gas Pumps 169 232
(Gas pump accuracy and credit card skimmers in gas pumps)
9 Motor Vehicle Sales 155 149
(Inadequate disclosures and misrepresentations)
10 Fuel Quality 119 113
(Concerns about the quality of fuel at retail stations)