Consumer information website SiteJabber released its second annual list of top consumer complaints for 2015. Their research found many consumer complaints arose from problems connected to the “sharing economy.” Apparently sharing isn’t always caring. According to their research, sharing economy complaints rose more than 100% from 2014.
If you’re a frequent traveler, you may have run into a snag or two when it comes to receiving quality service. SiteJabber discovered the travel sector received a boatload of complaints. Consumer complaints on travel websites rose 157% from 2014. There were also a few runners up that just barely made the top 10 list. SiteJabber said consumers also experienced difficulty when it came to purchases for drones, hoverboards, and online legal services.
Here are the top consumer complaints for 2015 according to SiteJabber.
10. Senior scams
If you have older loved ones in your life, make sure to warn them about scammers who are waiting to take advantage of them. Roughly 1,435 consumers filed complaints related to senior scams. Among the complaints were those relating to senior housing referrals as well as dishonest caregivers and companies supplying medical equipment. SiteJabber advises seniors to question online services and thoroughly check reviews.
9. Sharing economy scams
Issues relating to the sharing economy yielded 1,441 complaints. When using services like Airbnb, Uber, or Lyft, it’s important to research offerings in advance. However, when it comes to the sharing economy, SiteJabber notes things can get tricky. Online reviews could be inaccurate, and prices may not be clear. Watch out for hidden prices and make sure to familiarize yourself with the seller’s terms of agreement.
8. Hidden subscriptions
More than 2,000 consumers complained about hidden subscriptions. If you’re not alert and fail to read the fine print, you could end up paying for a product or service you were not aware of.
“One of the business models that seems to have ‘won’ online is the secret subscription. It works like this: You buy something that seems like a great deal, but you are forced to join some sort of a ‘club’ or ‘membership’ in which you are then forced (or strongly nudged) to buy something every month forever and ever. This could be clothes, food, music, or really anything and the fees are typically buried in the fine print,” said SiteJabber.
Also be careful when signing up for free trials. Sometimes the trial never gets cancelled, even after you opt out. Consequently, your credit card will continue to get charged month after month without your knowledge. That’s why it’s important to regularly check your credit card and bank statements. Always make sure that free trials and any subscriptions have indeed been cancelled.
7. Pet problems
Pet-related issues accounted for 2,673 complaints. Consumers tend to get into trouble when looking for deals online. Scammers have found plenty of ways to take advantage of pet owners looking to reduce the cost of pet care. SiteJabber said some of these shady retailers don’t ship the merchandise or send bogus or dangerous products.
6. Fake event tickets
The survey revealed 2,968 complaints were made about fake tickets. If you’re not careful, you could end up arriving to an event and discovering someone else sitting in your seat. SiteJabber recommends only using well-known ticket vendors and calling the venue or ticket issuer so that you can confirm the validity of the tickets.
5. Job scams
If you’ve been out of work for a while, you may be desperate to find employment as soon as possible. Don’t let your desperation lead you into the arms of a scammer. SiteJabber found 4,038 complaints were made about employment scams. Some online job and resume websites are charging consumers hidden recurring fees.
“Look for free, government or non-profit run services before paying for help. Be very wary of jobs or services that charge you upfront with a promise of future work or payment. And as always, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said SiteJabber.
4. Wedding mishaps
One of the worst times for something to go wrong is when you’re planning a wedding. The 5,254 consumers who logged complaints about wedding scams couldn’t agree more. Some of the scams encountered by consumers were fake diamond rings and poorly made wedding attire. SiteJabber warns shoppers to be careful when shopping for wedding deals online. Your best bet is to purchase wedding attire at a local store so that you can see what you’re getting.
3. Poor overseas customer service
Customer service can make or break a trip. This is especially true when you are far from home. The survey said 6,046 consumers complained about bad or non-existent overseas customer service. Make sure to read reviews carefully.
“An explosion of cheap merchandise is available to Western consumers from around the world and especially from Asia. Many good deals are there to be had, but there is a preponderance of low-quality products, counterfeits and scams,” SiteJabber warned.
2. Online dating scams
Do you think you found the love of your life online? Take it slow. Red flags should go up if your new love frequently asks you to send money and always seems to find an excuse to delay meeting in person. More than 6,300 complaints were made about questionable dating services. Fake online dating profiles may seem too good to be true, and they usually are. Also be aware of dating sites that charge hidden fees. Review your credit and bank statements so you can catch any unusual fees right away.
1. Travel trouble
The top 2015 consumer complaint was for travel services. Roughly 11,530 complaints involved travel scams. Only use reputable travel sites and make sure to read the terms closely so that you don’t get hit with hidden fees.