Cable providers rot: A.G. releases 2009 list of Top Ten Consumer Complaints

Colorado consumers mostly complained about scam rebate offers and malfunctioning satellite and cable television in 2009, according to the Office of the Attorney General. On Monday, the A.G. brought out its report of the top ten most-complained-against businesses to mark the beginning of Consumer Protection Week.

Top Prize goes to Grand Junction-based National Energy Rebate Fund, which set up a scam program that promised to pay people rebates after they bought certain energy-efficient products. The company never paid anybody, however. Owner Tim Stubbs fled to Costa Rica.

No matter really, A.G. spokesman Mike Saccone told the Colorado Independent. “There’s not extradition for civil matters and we already won the lawsuit,” he said.

“The judgment gives us access to an escrow account that has nearly $4.4 million dollars of consumer money in it. We are now in the process of trying to get an independent vendor to disperse [the funds] to the nearly 14,000 consumers across the country who were affected by this scam.”

Last year, the Attorney General received 1,984 complaints. Exactly 627 of those concerned National Energy Rebate Fund, which also heads the list for the first two months of 2010.

Another hated company appears to be Aurora-based Dazzle Smile. It drew 103 complaints in 2009. This year so far the tooth-whitener company has already chalked up at least 87 complaints.

Between 2008 and 2009 complaints rose three fold. This year looks to be a record setter: 604 complaints were filed in January and February alone. Saccone says that might well be due to the National Energy Rebate scam.

“Protecting Colorado consumers from deceptive trade practices, antitrust violations, unfair lending practices and a range of other violations of our consumer-protection laws is one of the most important charges of my office,” Attorney General John Suthers said in a release. “Thanks to our efforts and the outreach of partners in the nonprofit and media sectors, Colorado consumers are, on the whole, very well informed of the dangers they face online, through the mail and over the telephone.”

The lists:

2009 Top 10 Consumer Complaints:

Business and Tally of Complaints

1. National Energy Rebate Fund 627
2. DirecTV 169
3. Claim Specialists, Inc. 161
4. Timeshare Rescue 124
5. GNS, Inc. 119
6. Video Professor, Inc. 112
7. At the Beach 109
8. Dazzle Smile 103
9. Dish Network 73
10. Qwest 60

Jan & Feb 2010 Consumer Complaints

Business and Tally of Complaints

1. National Energy Rebate Fund 130
2. Dazzle Smile 87
3. At the Beach 78
4. Hort Financial Services 54
5. DirecTV 51
6. Dish Network 27
7. Corporate Acquisitions Group 22
8. Qwest 19
9. Vacation Ventures 19
10. Video Professor, Inc. 15

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