From real estate to debt, here’s what SC consumers complained about the most in 2021

Khadejeh Nikouyeh/Knikouyeh@charlotteobserver.com
·2 min read

Consumers in South Carolina had plenty to complain about last year.

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs has released its list for most common complaints reported in 2021.

The department reported receiving 3,977 complaints. By resolving the complaints, the department saved consumers more than $1.8 million last year.

Vehicle complaints nabbed the top spot for the fifth year in a row, officials said.

Below is a list of the 10 most common consumer complaints for 2021 in South Carolina and how many complaints were made for each category.

  1. Vehicles: 622

  2. Real Estate Transactions: 597

  3. Contractors: 331

  4. Utilities: 295

  5. Landlord/Tenant: 260

  6. Debt Collection: 232

  7. Internet Purchases/Services: 214

  8. Finance: 178

  9. Medical: 169

  10. Store Purchases: 91

The department’s data was part of the Consumer Federation of America’s larger annual Consumer Complaint Survey Report released this week. The survey included 23 agencies from 15 states that listed their top 10 complaint categories.

South Carolina matched the national trend of vehicles being the most complained about consumer topic last year.

“For the sixth year in a row, the number one consumer complaint to agencies involves deceptive conduct in the sale of new and used cars as well as complaints about auto repair shops,” Erin Witte, director of consumer protection, said in a press release. “It is clear that auto sales and repairs are a longstanding problem and that consumers rely heavily on these agencies for assistance when they have suffered harm.”

Many agencies also reported an increase in landlord-tenant complaints in 2021, the year during which the federal eviction moratorium ended, and states and localities decided whether to enact extended tenant protections, the survey shows.

Here are the top 10 complaint categories in the nationwide survey.

  1. Auto sales and repair

  2. Landlord/tenant

  3. Home improvement repairs and contractors

  4. Retail purchase issues

  5. Consumer debt and credit

  6. Frauds and scams

  7. Utilities

  8. Healthcare and wellness/robocalls

  9. Professional services

  10. Travel and recreation