DES MOINES (Legal Newsline) — The State of Iowa has reported a nearly 20 percent increase in consumer complaints in 2018, especially those relating to cars, home improvement and "imposter scams," according to the state's Attorney General's Office.
Iowa consumers filed more than 3,400 complaints in 2018 with the state's Consumer Protection Division which was up by more than 500 from the previous year, according to the Attorney General's Office. The top complaints for 2018 were related to auto repairs, financing, warranties and sales practices for cars, motorcycles, ATVs and trailers, the Attorney General's Office said. Phone calls, emails and social media "imposter scams" jumped to more than double from the previous year with 339 complaints being filed with the Consumer Protection Division.
“It’s hard to pinpoint an exact reason for the increase, but we’re seeing more complaints in several categories,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said in a statement. “Our investigators and attorneys attempt to resolve each complaint as fairly and justly as possible. In some cases, we could use the Legislature’s help in strengthening Iowa laws to provide justice to consumers.”
Miller's office has pre-filed a proposed bill with the Iowa State Legislature that would require contractors to post a $75,000 "surety bond" to help consumers recover costs sustained from fraud or contract breaches. The proposed bill would also subject contractors in violation of the bond to a simple misdemeanor, according to the Attorney General's Office.