The Five Types of Businesses With Most Complaints in Oregon
Monday, December 15, 2014
GOLocalPDX contacted the BBB and asked for data regarding which businesses had received the most complaints over the past year. Although the data couldn't be sorted by individual businesses, it could be sorted by business type. "For example," explained Sophie Dichter, spokesperson for the BBB, "I could tell you that cable companies have had the most complaints, but I wouldn’t be able to say that Comcast has the most complaints out of all types of businesses."
“Better Business Bureau wants to remind consumers to do your research before doing business with a company," Dichter said. "We make it really easy at bbb.org: just type in a business name and you’ll see a rating from A to F as well as reviews posted by past customers. This will give you peace of mind and protect your wallet. We also encourage consumers who believe they have been scammed or ripped off to file a complaint with us. There’s a link online. That way we can begin our investigation into the business. Our goal is marketplace trust.”
Magazine subscription agents topped the list with 439 complaints. Animal hospitals came in second with 361 complaints. Data is collected from customer complaints state-wide.
Number of Complaints: 439
Fraudulent magazine subscriptions, unwillingness to cancel subscriptions, and refusing to waive fees owed by a since-moved resident are common BBB complaints raised against magazine subscription agents throughout the country, and Oregon is no exception. The biggest culprit is Publisher’s Payment Processing based out of Medford, which has racked up a whopping 843 complaints in the past three years. In over 150 pages of complaints against Publisher’s Payment Services, customers complain about inflated prices—including nearly $1100 for a one-year subscription to the New York Times—and subscriptions not being renewed despite payment. While an overwhelming majority of the complaints raised against Publisher’s Payment have been resolved, there is still a substantial number coming from all over the country.
Number of complaints: 361
Animal hospitals may be difficult for customers to rate in an unbiased manner. Usually, a customer’s experience will be emotionally heightened due to seeking medical assistance for a beloved pet. If their four-legged or feathered friend is perceived to receive poor quality service, it could lead to a complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau that may not be justified. Even the Portland-area hospital with the highest number of complaints—Banfield Pet Hospital—still receives an ‘A’ rating from the BBB. Over the past three years, Banfield has racked up over 700 complaints with over half of them resolved in the past 12 months. Typical complaints filed against Banfield revolve around billing issues, procedures taken against owners’ wishes, and complaints against staff for providing false or misleading information. The majority of these complaints have been addressed by Banfield.
Number of complaints: 277
Is anyone ever truly mentally prepared for the traumatic experience of shopping for a new car? The near-instantaneous assault by salesmen who make a beeline towards you the moment you arrive. Is it customary to sign paperwork just to get a price quote? And what if you make a mistake and leave your number, guaranteeing daily repeated phone calls for weeks on end? All right, perhaps I’m being a bit hyperbolic from my own experience. There are literally thousands of new car dealerships throughout the state, so this category is a situation where the total of a small number of complaints combine for a third-place ranking. Indeed, the identified top offenders only had a handful of complaints, nearly all of which are resolved.
Number of Complaints: 268
Unlike new car dealerships, there is almost an expectation that you are going to get swindled at a used car lot. After all, there is a reason for the popular conception of a used-car salesman as an untrustworthy individual. Sure the deal sounds too good to be true—which probably means it is. And let’s not forget—if that ’91 Saab becomes a lemon as soon as you drive it off the lot, well, caveat emptor! Similar to new car dealerships, however, most used car dealers have superb ratings with no complaints. The complaints that do exist are in regards to advertising and sale issues, i.e. a car immediately having engine trouble or the purchaser realizing the odometer has been rolled back. Caveat emptor!
Similar to animal hospitals, customers may not exactly view financial service businesses in the most unbiased of viewpoints. After all, they trust these advisors, investors, and accountants with a nest egg that has taken years to compile and, hopefully, turn it into enough to send the kids to college. So when things go wrong, things go very, very wrong. If this nest egg—along with any hopes for a future that includes a comfortable retirement—disappears, you bet complaints are going to be filed! A closer look at Portland-area financial service businesses reveal that there is no Wolf of Wall Street-types, with only a handful of businesses receiving a few complaints. Similar to car dealers, it is the combined amount of a small number of complaints that result in the fifth-place ranking on this list.