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Top Consumer Complaint: Car Problems

PHOTO: The Consumer Federation of America has released its top ten list of consumer complaints and auto issues are on top. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
PHOTO: The Consumer Federation of America has released its top ten list of consumer complaints and auto issues are on top. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
August 13, 2013

NEW YORK - It's one of your biggest purchases, your car, and it could be your biggest headache. The Consumer Federation of America reports that auto issues are the top consumer complaint for 2012.

New York's Deputy Secretary of State, Marcos Vigil, recited a litany of complaints his office receives.

"Car financing, defective cars, extended warranties not being honored, repossessions, aggressive sales tactics or the purchase deposits not being returned."

This year, he said, cars damaged by Superstorm Sandy's high water have, well, flooded the market. So, he advised buyers of used cars to check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at the website for the state Department of Motor Vehicles. It should indicate if you are about to buy a flood-damaged car.

Vigil said car complaints are annually at or near the top of the consumer complaint list in New York and were slightly up in 2012.

"For used cars we have about 231; new cars, about 378; and auto towers, 13 complaints."

Vigil said problems with repair shops should be addressed to the DMV. Deceptive advertising claims should be taken to the State Attorney General's office, which also enforces the Lemon Law. All other complaints: his office is open.

"We always encourage people to first try to resolve the issue directly with the auto dealership, but if you don't find them to be cooperative, then you can file a consumer complaint with us at the Division of Consumer Protection", he said. "You can easily do it through our website."

That website is dos.ny.gov.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY