Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – The Consumer Affairs Division of the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office says home improvement scams top the list of complaints filed with the state in 2021.
Common complaints were about incomplete work after receipt of payment.
For example, Jim Lance shared with WATE how he paid for several upgrades to his lakeside home in Jefferson County, but the work was never completed by the original remodeling contractor hired.
“It was meant to be our forever home,” Lance said in December. “We had done extensive research. Made several trips to the area.
In Grainger County, rats in the rental home of John Kehn and Trista Vidales created a health hazard last March.
“Rats. There are dead rats everywhere,” Kehn said. “Here’s one right here. This would have fallen off if I hadn’t put plastic in here.
“They live within our walls, in our basement. They are ripping the insulation off my walls,” Vidales said.
In 2021, the Tennessee Consumer Affairs Division received 5,561 complaints — a 37% increase — compared to 2020, when 4,053 complaints were reviewed. The top category of complaints included home improvements, home repairs and home warranty issues with 787 complaints filed.
The top three categories saw the highest year-over-year increases, with home improvement scams up 58%, landlord/tenant complaints up 61%, and complaints about health and revenue increasing by 63%.
At No. 4 on the list are personal and professional services, including hairdressers, massage therapists and photographers. The state says common complaints included quality of service, charges for services not received, and issues redeeming gift certificates.
Rounding out the top five were used car sales and advertising, which included refund and return issues. Many complaints were about issues with refunds and returns. Also, for the first time, scams by imposters made it to Consumer Affairs’ top ten complaints list.
Complaints can be filed with the state online at tn.gov/attorneygeneral.