PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Between the year-long pandemic and devastating wildfires, state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said there were plenty of new opportunities for scammers to take advantage of Oregonians in 2020.
The attorney general released her list of the year’s top 10 consumer complaints Monday.
“No one should feel ‘ripped off’ and that’s why we follow up with each and every complaint that’s filed with us, either by phone or online,” Rosenblum said in a statement.
Rosenblum said some businesses clearly took advantage of Oregonians’ desperate need of hotel rooms, cleaning supplies, masks, toilet paper, and even bottled water. She said due to allegations of price-gouging, 2020’s list of the top 10 consumer complaints includes a new category for the first time: Grocery, Food and Beverage.
2020 Top 10 Consumer Complaint List:
- Telecommunications (1035 complaints)
- Auto Sales & Repairs (602 complaints)
- Imposter Scams (534 complaints)
- Health and Medical (526 complaints)
- Financial, Credits and Lending (513 complaints)
- Grocery, Food and Beverage (416 complaints)
- Travel Services & Products (331 complaints)
- Real Estate & Property Management (218 complaints)
- Recreation (183 complaints)
- Construction Contractors (170 complaints)
Along with releasing the list, Rosenblum also proudly announced that the Department of Justice returned $650,000 to Oregon consumers who filed complaints through the Consumer Protection Hotline. In 2020, there were 31,868 calls made to the hotline.
There were also 7,100 written consumer complaints and 560 reports of price gouging made to the hotline.
When Oregon’s Department of Justice learned about businesses significantly raising prices on highly sought items when the pandemic began in March, 2020, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an order activating the state’s price-gouging statute, at the attorney general’s request.
The Department of Justice also warned Amazon, Facebook, Ebay, and Craigslist, that they were not exempt from Oregon’s price-gouging laws.
Rosenblum said the Department of Justice reached settlements with six companies and medical clinics selling unproven COVID-19 treatments within a few months of the start of the pandemic. They also settled with two convenience store chains, a Portland-based sock merchant, a travel business, and a skincare company in November.