MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin's Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection released its annual "Top 10" list today.
Consumers made more complaints about the state's No-Call list than anything else. That issue racked up 2,187 complaints in 2009.
"Consumers closely guard their right to say no to telemarketing. The No Call list currently contains more than 2 million numbers, almost half of which are cell phone numbers," wrote Secretary Rod Nilsestuen in a news release sent to reporters.
Here's the full top 10 list:
1. No-Call List - 2,187 complaints
2. Landlord/Tenant Disputes - 1,650 complaints
3. Telecommunications - 1,434 complaints
4. Satellite Service - 1,259 complaints
5. Home Improvement - 909 complaints
6. Motor Vehicle Sales - 487 complaints
7. Credit cards
8. Car repair
10. Internet service
DATCP leaders offer some advice to consumers to avoid problems.
About phone bills: "Make sure you look at your phone bill carefully and question any charge you don't understand," wrote Janet Jenkins, Administrator of DATCP's Division of Trade and Consumer Protection, in a statement to reporters.
About home improvement: "Make sure everything you want and agree on is in writing; insist on receiving lien waivers when payments are made; and give Consumer Protection a call to check whether there are any complaints about a contractor you are thinking of using."
About credit cards: "Make sure to read the fine print to determine if and when your credit card issuer can change the interest rate, billing period or other provisions of your agreement," Nilsestuen says. "In addition, review the privacy notice that tells you how to opt out of having your credit card company share your information."
WKOW's Call for Action Team investigated the Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for five months. We found the agency sometimes ignores complaints of suspected fraud and wrongdoing or hands them off to other agencies.
During the process of investigating, WKOW also uncovered internal emails from DATCP. The department's public information officer, Lee Sensenbrenner, conspired to withhold public documents from WKOW's reporter. The division's administrator of trade and consumer protection, Janet Jenkins, mocked the investigation.
DATCP's secretary, Rod Nilsestuen, has ignored repeated requests for an interview.
Online reporting by Dan Cassuto
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