Better Business Bureau: Complaints to BBB up nearly 10 percent in 2009

 Cell phone industry, cable/satellite TV and banks top the list for most complaints filed with BBB

 

Chicago, IL – According to an annual report released by the Better Business Bureau, consumer complaints to the organization increased by 9.7 percent in 2009. Not only did BBB receive nearly 1 million complaints filed by disgruntled customers last year, consumers turned to the non-profit more than 65 million times for help researching businesses across North America. 

“Amidst the housing crisis, high unemployment rate and the chaos on Wall Street, the last year has not been easy on consumers and the increase in complaints to BBB reflect this troubled economy,” said Steve J. Bernas, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Now more than ever, struggling families should rely on BBB to find businesses they can trust and to help their voice be heard in the marketplace.”

 

The cell phone industry received the largest number of complaints in 2009 with 37,477, a 2.1 percent increase over last year. The cable & satellite TV industry ranked second with 32,616 complaints, an 8.7 percent increase over the previous year. Rounding out the top three, banks received 29,920 complaints, a 42.3 percent increase over the previous year.

 

While cell phone and the cable & satellite TV industries along with banks received a high volume of complaints, two of the three industries saw improvements in their resolution rates over the previous year. Cell phone companies resolved 97.4 percent of complaints; the cable & satellite TV industry resolved 97.2 percent. The resolution rate by banks declined slightly to 95.2 percent.

 

The report also reveals that BBB Reliability Reports-which are available online for free at www.bbb.org and contain information on a business’s accreditation status, letter-grade rating and complaint history-are increasingly popular as a free tool for consumers to research the trustworthiness of businesses.  The nearly 4 million BBB Reliability Reports® on businesses across North America were viewed more than 65 million times in 2009. The most popular industries researched through BBB were roofing contractors, general contractors and mortgage brokers.

Following are the top 10 industries by volume of consumer complaints filed across North America with BBB in 2009:

 

Industry

Total Complaints

Rank by number of complaints1

Percentage Change over 2008

Percentage of Resolved Complaints 2

Cellular Phones Service & Equipment

37,477

1

2.1%

97.4%

Television – Cable, CATV & Satellite

32,616

2

8.7%

97.2%

Banks

29,920

3

42.3%

95.2%

Auto Dealers-New Cars

26,888

4

-2.4%

84.1%

Internet Shopping

21,494

5

9.4%

71.7%

Collection Agencies

15,797

6

-3.3%

86.6%

Auto Dealers – Used Cars

13,686

7

2.5%

70.8%

Telephone Companies

13,470

8

11.2%

96.1%

Furniture – Retail

13,158

9

-2.9%

78.3%

Auto Repair & Service

12,736

10

9.5%

65.9%

1 Complaint rank is out of 3,947 industries categories

2 Average resolution rate across all industries for 2009 was 76.2 percent 

For a complete industry breakdown of all complaints filed with the BBB in 2009, and previous years, go to www.bbb.org/statistics