Business Opinion

Consumer Diary: CT Consumer Complaints Year-Over-Year

Attorney General William Tong. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Consumer columnist and West Hartford resident Harlan Levy has more than 20 years of experience writing stories about everyday experiences that anyone could encounter.

By Harlan Levy

Harlan Levy. Courtesy photo

After reporting on the latest scam effort that we experienced I wondered how many and what kinds of consumer complaints the attorney general’s consumer unit has received so far –from June 30, 2023 to May 1 this year compared with the same period a year earlier.

My always reliable contact at that unit, Communications and Policy Chief Elizabeth Benton, had some research done, also furnishing me with a few typical and very recent cases:

Numbers, 6/30/24-5/1/24 vs. 6/30/22-5/1/23

  • Auto-Related: 750, 577
  • Home Repair/Improvement: 601, 438
  • Banking: 413, 181
  • Travel: 287, 230
  • Imposter Scams: 275, 188
  • Telephone/Mobile: 212, 263
  • Social Media: 220, 83
  • Internet: 198, 297
  • Utilities: 172, 266
  • Debt Collection: 145, 96
  • Identity Theft: 142, 42
  • Credit cards: 125, 156


Total: 3,540 vs. 2,817 – up about 25 percent!

“Scams are pervasive and ever-evolving,” Attorney General William Tong responded. “The best protection is prevention. Scammers will try to play on your emotions and rush you into a hasty decision. Take your time, do your research, and never give money or information to someone you do not know or trust. Stop the scam before it starts.”


Priceline: “Consumer tried to no avail to cancel a trip to Aruba, and Priceline was not responsive or claimed it was non-refundable.”

Resolution: “After our office reached out to Priceline on her behalf, the consumer was refunded her $1,549.52

Carvana: “I purchased a car from Carvana on 10/11/23. They were supposed to handle the registration process, and I was given temp plates. Plates expired 12/11/23, and Carvana has not been able to produce definitive answers or a completed registration at this time. DMV in CT has no record of paperwork from them or their-third party vendor at this time. I’m currently now paying for a car I cannot operate and still have no answers. I have been given the runaround with advocates, told they do not have access to specific information, and often told they will look into it and get back to me with no follow-through. I now have no vehicle to use and am in limbo until this gets rectified.”

Resolution: “Following contact from the Office of the Attorney General, Carvana issued the consumer a $430 check and completed the necessary title/registration work.”

Safe Home Security: “I tried to cancel this security system two years ago. We moved, and I contacted them letting them know. They took $119 out of my account stating they would have someone come and move the system. When I asked why they did that they said they didn’t trust me to pay. No one ever showed up. When I called, they said there was no one in the area anymore. They wouldn’t however, return my money. I sent several emails, calls, and even contacted the CEO Mr. Roman. I have all the correspondence I’ve sent to them to no avail. My husband is a 100%-disabled veteran, and I’m 40%-disabled. They don’t care. I’ve asked them to stop harassing me. We haven’t had their security system for over two years, and they still won’t leave us alone.  Please make them stop, worst service and company I have ever had to deal with.

Resolution: “Following contact from the Office of the Attorney General, Safe Home Security apologized to the consumer, cancelled her contract, and refunded her $199.

Meta: “My Facebook account was disabled on March 13 due to ‘authentic identity.’ I tried the appeals process (including submitting a video selfie & IDs) but it didn’t work. My account is under my real name. They have not responded to any of my emails, and they claim they will delete my account in 30 days. I have used my account for 15 years with no issue. It is also not a content moderation issue, as I haven’t posted on my account in 2 years now. As FB says, somehow they think my account is inauthentic.”

Resolution: “This consumer’s account was reactivated following outreach to Meta from the Office of the Attorney General.”

Frontier Communications: “Our internet went down last Friday, April 12.  After 24 hours (Saturday), we called Frontier and a customer service representative put in a ticket to get a tech person on-site by Monday, if the internet was not back on-line. I received a text message on Monday that the tech will be there. Monday evening, no tech, so I called customer service, and they claimed it was resolved. I disputed that, and they re-scheduled to arrive Tuesday. Finally, Frontier arrived early Tuesday afternoon. The tech fixed a couple of cable lines but … not the internet! He claims their system was down again in the morning and that all the customer tickets were canceled. He IMPLIED that Frontier may have a major issue but could not answer if they were hacked or not. He also indicated that it could be hours or days before the internet is working. So here we are almost a week later and still no service, and their phone app is not working.”

Resolution: “After more than a week without service, their service was connected after our Office became involved.”

Vision Solar: “My wife and I had a contract with them on making payments for our newly installed solar panels. Just recently we discovered they filed for bankruptcy. Our solar panels were dropped on a 15-year old roof after they promised us a new roof if absolutely necessary. They brought in their own inspector, who came, and somehow we passed the inspection. Very suspicious. It turns out now we have a leak coming into the house from our roof. Everything about how they did it all was very suspicious and quick. I’m wondering how we go about moving forward with this situation. We’ve been paying them from day one and have not missed a payment since we signed. They have been very rude since, and, since signing, all we get is a cold shoulder on anything we call in involving the panels. We need assistance and if there is anything your office can do to help us in this nightmare it would be greatly appreciated.”

Resolution: The attorney general responded that Vision Solar’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing  on Dec. 28, 2023 meant it had no assets. The AG outlined steps to take to receive compensation from the Department of Consumer Protection Home Improvement Guaranty Fund. “Vision Solar’s Connecticut consumers who are owed money or services and submit a proof of claim to the bankruptcy court may be entitled to compensation of up to $25,000 from the Guaranty Fund,” the AG said. “Be aware that Vision’s bankruptcy filing does not necessarily cancel or change your loan or lease agreements with third parties, like financing companies, related to Vision.”

That’s the definition of “stuck.”

NOTE: In March the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a new federal rule capping fees on late credit card payments at $8 a month, effective yesterday. Yay!

On Friday, a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, temporarily blocked the rule, agreeing with bank and credit card lobbyists arguing it’s unconstitutional. Boo!

NOTE: If you have a consumer problem, contact me at [email protected](“Consumer” in subject line), and, with the power of the press, maybe I can help.

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