Do Not Call List and Telemarketing Top the List of Consumer Complaints of April 2012
~ Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Releases April Status Report ~
May 4, 2012
Tallahassee, FL –Commissioner Adam Putnam announced today the top three complaints received in April through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ 1-800 HELP FLA consumer hotline: do not call, solicitation of contributions and motor vehicle repair. In total, more than 3,000 complaints were filed by consumers in April and the department received 33,716 calls and 2,387 emails for consumer assistance and information.
“Protecting consumers is a priority of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,” said Commissioner Putnam. “We take each and every consumer complaint very seriously and through investigative or proactive measures, we’re taking on fraud and deception to prevent further harm to consumers.”
In the last month, the department has responded to many consumer concerns and taken action against several individuals or businesses operating outside of Florida law. During the month of April 2012, the department:
- Registered 4,427 businesses (both initial or renewal business registrations)
- Received 3,084 complaints. The top three areas of consumers complaints include:
- Do Not Call
- Initiated 104 investigations (84 administrative and 20 criminal)
- Arrested 6 individuals in violation of state law
- Recovered $406,359.76 on behalf of Florida consumers
- Added 185,938 additional numbers (80,760 individuals) to Florida’s Do Not Call List as of May 4, 2012. These numbers will go on the Do Not Call list effective July 1, 2012. Currently there are 71,460 numbers and 60,638 subscribers on the list. Starting July 1, there will be 257,398 numbers and 141,398 subscribers on the list.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information. The call center is staffed with trained analysts who can respond to questions about programs and regulations under the department’s purview, provide information on a wide variety of topics or direct callers to the appropriate government agency. In addition, the department has responsibility for regulating various business industries operating in Florida.
This is the first monthly status report on consumer services provided by the department. Key metrics , including business registrations, consumer complaints, investigations, arrests and Do Not Call subscriptions, will distributed by the 5th of each month.
Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).
For more information about the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.