Consumers across New York State have a lot to complain about. It seems along with the COVID-19 Pandemic, came a laundry list of new scams in 2020 and attempts by people to take advantage of others.

To mark the beginning of National Consumer Protection Week New York Attorney General Letitia James released the list of the top consumer complaints from residents in 2020. Undoubtedly, the Top 3 complaints stem from some form of COVID-19 related angle. James says,

The havoc unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the numerous other ways consumers were defrauded in 2020, sadly resulted in my office receiving a record number of consumer fraud complaints in 2020.

The third most common complaint came from landlord/tenant disputes. According to the AG's office there were 2,752 complaints filed to her office claiming the refusal to return security deposits or tenant harassment. The Pandemic has taken a toll on the rental industry as a whole. The Governor has placed a moratorium on evictions and that has prompted natural tension between the landlord and tenant.

At the infancy of the Pandemic, stores saw an immediate shortage of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products and more. Due to the demand, several retailers and other outlets increased pricing. Could these actions be described as price gouging? According to 7,701 New Yorkers, they feel some "brick and mortar" outlets took advantage of the need for those items to increase profit margins. That is the number two most reported consumer complaint on the Attorney General's list.

Coming in at number one on our countdown are Internet-based complaints such as privacy and date breaches, internet services not delivering on promises or other forms of fraud. The total number of complaints reported stood at 9,832.

Attorney General James released the full Top 10 list and the other seven complaints were related to gyms/health clubs, automobile sale complaints, consumer services, retail sales, credit, utilities and travel. Ahead of National Consumer Protection Week, AG Letitia James is warning people to be mindful or who they share personal information with, what they buy or click on the internet and now with vaccine demand through the roof she's telling people to be mindful of vaccine related scams.

If you feel you've been the victim of consumer fraud or a scam you can file a complaint directly with the Attorney General's office on their website.

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