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Ask Sid

TV, Cellphone Companies Top Consumer Complaints

New-car dealers and banks also high on the list

Q. Which industries generate the most consumer complaints?

See also: New federal database displays consumers' product safety complaints.

A. Cable and satellite television providers took that dubious honor in 2010 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau, followed by cellular phone companies, new-car dealers and banks.

But each of those industries generated fewer complaints than the previous year, when cellphone companies garnered the most gripes, followed by cable and satellite TV companies.

And all of those industries improved their complaint "resolution rates" compared with 2009.

Rounding out the top 10 industries generating the most complaints last year: Collection agencies, used-car dealers, auto repair and service providers, furniture retailers, Internet retailers and mortgage brokers.

Meanwhile, collection agencies generated 11 percent of complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last year, more than any other industry. Among categories of complaints to the FTC, collection agencies fell second only to identity theft, which comprised 19 percent of filed complaints.

Other industries in the FTC's top 10 list included Internet services, shop-at-home and catalog sales, Internet auctions, telephone and mobile services, and credit cards.

Consumers can file complaints to the FTC online.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues. Have a question for Sid Kirchheimer about a new product, a new kind of bank account? Check out the Ask Sid archive. If you don’t find your answer there, send a query.

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