<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Business News - Money, Financial & Corporate News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/business http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usThu, 29 Sep 2016 16:25:52 -0500Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:25:52 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Airlines Reading, Responding to Social Media Rants]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:25:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/swa-airline-tweets-compliants.jpg A new study says airlines are reading posts made by customers complaining over delayed or canceled flights and poor service, and are responding to those messages. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has a team tracking Twitter, Facebook and other online sites 24 hours a day. When a customer vents about a problem, a representative reaches out to them. "The approach is really how can we help, wait a minute we hate to hear that.... so what is going on, give us some information and let's see what we can do to straighten this out," said Lisa Goode, with Southwest Airlines. Social media teams help airlines by rebooking customers or by helping keep them more calm by relaying information when problems crop up.

Photo Credit: CNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Wells Fargo CEO to Forfeit $41M Amid Review]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:52:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16260609890795-wells-fargo.jpg

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez on Tuesday said he would initiate a "top-to-bottom" review of labor practices at disgraced bank Wells Fargo, NBC News reported.

Perez was responding to a letter from eight Democratic senators who had requested a probe into whether Wells Fargo had violated wage and working hour laws by failing to pay overtime to tellers and sales representatives who stayed late to meet sales quotas.

"We take the concerns raised in your letter very seriously," Perez told the lawmakers, whose action was spearheaded by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

"Given the serious nature of the allegations, I have directed enforcement agencies within the department to conduct a top-to-bottom review of cases, complaints or violations concerning Wells Fargo over the last several years," wrote Perez. 

Later Tuesday, Wells Fargo said CEO John Stumpf and the executive who ran the bank's consumer banking division will forfeit tens of millions of dollars in bonuses as it tries to stem a scandal over its sales practices.

The Associated Press reported that Stumpf will forfeit $41 million in stock awards, while former retail banking executive Carrie Tolstedt will forfeit $19 million of her stock awards, effective immediately. Both are also giving up any bonuses for 2016.  



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How to Protect Yourself From Hackers ]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:38:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_onlinetuneup0923_1920x1080.jpg Thursday's news that Yahoo suffered a hack of 500 million of its user accounts may have many people taking a new look at how to keep their own email accounts and personal information secure. One easy way to protect yourself from hackers is by regularly updating your software. "Hackers are always finding new vulnerabilities to exploit," said Consumer Reports Editor Jerry Beilinson.]]> <![CDATA[How The Marriott-Starwood Merger Affects Your Rewards]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:37:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/marriott.jpg

The Marriott International brand has become the largest hotel chain in the world, after its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide closed on Friday morning.

The new deal means changes for how 78 million loyal customers of both Marriott and Starwood will manage their reward programs.

Beginning Friday, members of Marriott and Starwood loyalty programs will be able to link their accounts together, The Associated Press reported. Platinum and gold statuses will be interchangeable between the two companies. Marriot silver members will be the equivalent of Starwood's lowest category, Preferred Plus.

In addition, the merger comes with a 3-to-1 exchange rate that has been deemed equal; every Starwood point is worth three Marriott Rewards points.

Points can be used by members for free nights, sporting or entertainment events, shopping on the company’s online mall, among other exclusive experiences. By linking the rewards programs together, members now have a wider variety of locations they can stay in.

While the accounts can be linked, the loyalty programs will remain separate for the time being, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson confirmed to the AP. Marriott has partnerships with Chase and United Airlines, while Starwood has partnerships with American Express, Delta Air Lines and Uber. Marriott plans to keep operating both programs for the next two years until eventually phasing out the Starwood Preferred Guest program.

“Nothing changes immediately,” Sorenson said. “We have to see how those partnerships evolve.”

The new company will encompass 30 hotel brands with more than 5,700 properties across more than 110 countries, the AP reported. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Embattled Wells Fargo CEO Resigns From Federal Panel]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 17:15:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16264579459541-Stumpf.jpg

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf stepped down from his position on the Federal Reserve Advisory Council Thursday, according to a statement from the San Francisco Federal Reserve.

Wells Fargo told CNBC that Stumpf “made a personal decision to resign” as the council’s Twelfth District's representative.

“His top priority is leading Wells Fargo,” the company said.

Earlier this week, Stumpf appeared before a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Wells Fargo's sales practices and the roughly 2 million accounts the bank opened without customer authorization. The CEO said on Tuesday he is "deeply sorry" for conduct that "failed to fulfill our responsibilities to our customers, our team members and the American public."



Photo Credit: Susan Walsh, AP]]>
<![CDATA[FedEx Hiring 1,000 in Chicago Ahead of Holiday Season]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:10:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Fedex-Truck2.jpg

FedEx is adding more than 1,000 seasonal positions ahead of the holiday season.

The positions are part of a plan to hire more than 50,000 nationally leading up to the “peak season,” with a majority of the positions in the FedEx Ground network, the company said.

The positions include package handlers, drivers and other support positions, according to FedEx.

FedEx isn’t the only company hiring thousands of workers ahead of the holiday season.

Most recently, Target announced it was hiring more than 70,000 for the upcoming months.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[$martMoney]]> Tue, 08 May 2012 09:08:56 -0500 ]]> <![CDATA[Prime Now Adds First Beauty Store for Chicago Users]]> Thu, 15 Sep 2016 11:20:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/227*120/amazon1.png

Chicago Amazon Prime users have already been able to get groceries, food and gifts delivered to their homes in a matter of hours, but now they can add beauty products to that list.

Amazon announced its Prime Now service has added its first-ever beauty brand to the one-hour delivery service. The partnership is with Chicago-based Merz Apothecary, which sells beauty and natural health products.

"We have thrived in business for 141 years by focusing on our customer needs, and we believe Prime Now is a natural extension of this customer-centric approach,” Anthony Qaiyum, owner of Merz Apothecary, said in a statement. “As the owner of an independent, family-run business, I am especially excited for us to be able to combine our unique products and our expertise in our field with Amazon's unrivaled delivery operations. I think it is a recipe for customer satisfaction and business growth."

The Prime Now service offers one-hour delivery for $7.99 or free two-hour delivery and is available from 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week in Chicago.

“Merz Apothecary is a family-owned, iconic destination in the Windy City and we think customers will love the convenience of superfast delivery of thousands of beauty items,” Simoina Vasen, director of Prime Now, said in a statement. “We are excited to launch this new product offering in Chicago with such a beloved local brand.”

The company first launched the quick delivery service for Prime members in Chicago last year. The service is also currently available in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, Manhattan and Miami.



Photo Credit: Amazon]]>
<![CDATA[Ford to Stop Producing Small Cars in US]]> Wed, 14 Sep 2016 16:02:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-513343308-ford-generic.jpg

Ford says it will move its entire small car operation from America to Mexico, NBC News reported.

"Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small car production to Mexico," CEO Mark Fields said at an investor conference in Detroit on Wednedsay, assuring investors that his company maintains a healthy profit margin in its pickup truck and van business.

Many automakers are shifting manufacturing to lower-cost zones as they deal with lower profit margins for small cars. But the move from Ford is likely to set off a firestorm during the U.S. presidential race, where blue-collar jobs and relations with Mexico are contentious topics.

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<![CDATA[FAA Issues Warning About Samsung Phones]]> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 19:59:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16246359982059-samsung.jpg

The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday strongly urged travelers not to turn on or charge Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cell phones while on planes, after a series of incidents involving exploding batteries.

In a statement, the FAA also advised travelers not to stow the devices in any checked baggage.

Samsung Electronics issued a recall on Sept. 2 for the roughly 2.5 million devices after reports that batteries exploded during charging.

Three Australian airlines have already barred passengers from using or charging the smartphones during flights.

The recall resulted in a nearly $7 billion loss for Samsung's share value this week.



Photo Credit: Ahn Young-joon, AP]]>
<![CDATA[‘I Already Lost Them’: The World Reacts to Apple’s AirPods]]> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 18:35:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16251682398866-iphone-7-earbud.gif

At Apple’s product launch event Wednesday, the company confirmed what many had been speculating for months: The new iPhone 7 does not have a headphone jack. iPhone users who want to communicate and listen to things through their devices will have to purchase the company’s new wireless earbuds, the $159-per-pair AirPods.

The ‘Pods will be available in October, and they’ll come with a small charging case, so users can juice up once their earphones' five hours of power run out.

Aside from balking at the cost of the AirPods, people joked around, and expressed genuine concern, about their size, NBC News reported.

The earphones are essentially the size of Apple’s current earbud product, but without the cord that has in the past kept users’ earphones physically attached to their larger devices. Humorous observations about how easy it will be to lose track of the tiny wireless earphones quickly sprung up around social media. One common joke was about already having lost the AirPods, even though they’re not yet available for purchase. 

"I didn’t even get the AirPods yet, but I already lost them," journalist Joanna Stern tweeted.

But it’s not just the cost and size that inspired the slew of jokes and memes.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Airbnb Addresses Claims of Racism, Revamps Website]]> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 13:05:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/airbnb-homepage.jpg

Before the end of the year, Airbnb plans to display user photos less prominently, promote instant bookings and introduce technological changes to address widespread reports of racial discrimination against nonwhite guests, according to a report released by the online vacation home rental marketplace Thursday.

The changes were announced following months of criticism sparked in part by the Twitter hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack, which featured accounts from African-American users who said they were discriminated against on the platform.

"Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them," Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky wrote in an email to users. "Unfortunately, we have been slow to address these problems, and for this I am sorry."

Starting Nov. 1, Airbnb users must agree to treat fellow members without bias regardless of race, religion, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age, Reuters reported.



Photo Credit: Airbnb]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Satellites Part of Plan for Internet in Space]]> Fri, 02 Sep 2016 15:57:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/spacex-explostion-smoke.jpg

On Thursday, a SpaceX rocket, along with a satellite leased in part by Facebook, were destroyed in a launch pad explosion at Cape Canaveral. The explosion, in which no people were harmed, occurred during preparation for a launch that had been scheduled for Saturday. 

A Facebook spokesperson said the company was “disappointed by the loss” of the Israeli-built Amos 6 satellite. The portion of the satellite that Facebook had leased would have served to bring internet access to parts of sub-Saharan Africa, NBC News reported, as a part of Facebook's mission to connect people around the world through the Internet.

Both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk have discussed plans to use low-orbit satellites to bring high-speed internet access to the many regions of the planet that don't have it. While building a space-based internet is not a new idea, it's one that has taken off once again largely due to new technology and lower launch costs.

"Now with even faster computers and cheaper satellites, there is a whole lot of interest in creating a bunch of new systems to do this," James Muncy, co-founder of the Space Frontier Foundation, told NBC News.



Photo Credit: Frank Jakubetz]]>
<![CDATA[Pumpkin Spice Latte Returns as Starbucks Debuts New Drink]]> Fri, 02 Sep 2016 12:01:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/PSL_and_Chile_Mocha_2016.jpg

Starbucks isn’t waiting for summer weather to end before it begins dishing out its fall treats.

With meteorological fall already underway, so is the return of the beloved pumpkin spice latte.

For the 13th year in a row, the coffee company has debuted its popular seasonal drink made with pumpkin spice sauce, cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg.

While the drink officially launches Sept. 6, customers could begin ordering as early as Thursday with an early access code from @TheRealPSL Twitter account.

Joining the fall favorite on the seasonal menu is a new drink from Starbucks – the Chile Mocha.

“When we think about fall, often people think about warmth and spice, like cinnamon and apple pie,” Michelle Sundquist, Starbucks senior product developer, said in a statement. “We decided to take that idea in a new direction with chocolate and a bit of heat.”

The new drink features espresso and steamed milk infused with a cocoa and cinnamon powder, whipped cream and a Chile Mocha topping made of ancho and cayenne chile pepper, cinnamon, paprika, sugar and sea salt.

“The first sip should be warm and chocolatey, quickly followed by the creaminess of the whip and just a kiss of sweet and savory heat all at once," said Sundquist.



Photo Credit: Starbucks]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Needs More Money to Keep Model 3 On Track]]> Wed, 31 Aug 2016 13:48:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-490597798.jpg

Automaker Tesla will need to raise additional capital in order to continue as planned with development of its new Model 3 sedan and its giant battery “gigafactory” in Reno, the company said Wednesday. 

The company has posted operating losses in the last 14 straight quarters, and it’s reported negative cash flow since early 2014, Reuters reported. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk admitted the company might need a “small equity capital raise” in 2017.

Still, Musk was tweeting Wednesday about an upcoming blog post on the recent developments related to Tesla’s self-driving technology.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Popular Suburban Pizza Restaurant Plans New Chicago Location]]> Fri, 26 Aug 2016 12:48:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/230*120/nick%27s+pizza.png

A popular northwest suburban pizza restaurant is eyeing its first Chicago location.

Nick’s Pizza & Pub said it is in the early stages of opening a location in the city’s North Side Lincoln Square neighborhood.

Owner Nick Sarillo said he is in the process of claiming a vacant building at the corner of Montrose and Artesian avenues.

The restaurant, which has locations in Crystal Lake and Elgin, is a staple for residents in the northwest suburbs and has tried opening an eatery in the city before, but complications have kept that from happening.

This time, Sarillo said things are different.

“I’m so much more excited about this one,” he said. “I don’t see anything getting in the way.”

Still, things are far from concrete, Sarillo noted.

While the suburban locations offer a unique experience, with rustic and antique décor and baskets of peanuts with shells covering the floor, Sarillo said the latest location would likely be a bit different.

“I want it to feel like it belongs in the neighborhood, even though it’s a throwback to what the neighborhood was at the turn of the century,” he said.

That means that while he still hopes to have a big wooden door, fireplaces and peanut shells on the floor, part of the décor will be unique to the city location.

The biggest difference will likely be the building itself, which is a smaller brick structure and not a restored barn-like building like the two suburban locations.

“I don’t want to put a barn in a place where there would never be a barn but I do want it to feel like Nick’s,” Sarillo said. “Even though it’s a brand new place I’ve always wanted it to feel like it’s been there 100 years.”

The restaurant isn’t just known for its food and interior design, however. Sarillo has made headlines with his business model that fosters a purposeful and value-driven culture. 

It appears Ald. Ameya Pawar is behind the move as well, as he posted news about the potential move to his social media this week.

“Coming soon to Montrose/Artesian: Nick’s Pizza & Pub!” he wrote.

While there’s still much to do to finalize the plans, Sarillo hopes that if everthing goes as planned, the new restaurant would be opened between April and June of next year.

“That would be the goal,” he said.

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<![CDATA[Guests' Data May Have Been Hacked at Hotels]]> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 10:49:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/HotelHack-AP_16228457715731%281%29.jpg

Hyatt, Sheraton, Marriott and Westin hotels in 10 states and the District of Columbia may have been targeted by hackers for months. 

According to the hotel operator HEI Hotels & Resorts, malware put into place in at least 20 locations may have collected names, card account numbers, card expiration dates and verification codes. 

Data from customers may have been collected from early December, through late June. At some properties, HEI said, data collection may have begun as early as March 2015 at hotel locations where people bought food or drinks. 

HEI said in a company release that "We are treating this matter as a top priority, and took steps to address and contain this incident promptly after it was discovered." 

HEI said that once it found out about the problem it transitioned payment card processing to a stand-alone system that's completely separate from the rest of its network. It disabled the malware and is in the process of reconfiguring various components of its network and payment systems to make them more secure. 

The company said it's continuing to cooperate with the law enforcement investigation and coordinating with banks and payment card companies. 

Anyone who used a card at HEI hotels in the given time frame should review their account statements and look for discrepancies or unusual activity, both over the past several months and going forward, the company said. Customers who notice anything out of place should contact their credit or debit card issuer.

Starwood's Westin hotels in Minneapolis; Pasadena, California; Philadelphia; Snowmass, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, were affected. Also breached were Starwood properties in Arlington, Virginia; Manchester Village, Vermont; San Francisco; Miami; and Nashville, Tennessee.

Customers may also visit www.heihotels.com/notice for additional information about the incident. 

The company says the breach has been contained and customers can safely use cards at all of its properties.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Macy's to Close 100 Stores Nationwide]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 08:06:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-530665646.jpg

Macy's announced Thursday plans close approximately 100 of its department stores, the latest effort to adapt to shifting consumer shopping patterns and more online competition, CNBC reported.

The 100 store closures are only the latest round of closures Macy's has done in recent years to cast off locations where profitability has waned. Macy's hasn't announced which locations will close. It currently operates 728 stores, including 675 of its traditional full-price locations.

Most of the 100 stores the company plans to close will be shuttered in early 2017, with the remainder shutting down as leases and other obligations expire or are waived. The locations of these stores will be released at a later date.



Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Japan Raided on Suspicion of Antitrust Practices]]> Mon, 08 Aug 2016 06:33:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-151368933.jpg

Japan's Fair Trade Commission has raided the offices of Amazon's local unit on suspicion of pressuring retailers to offer products at lower prices than on rival sites, the Nikkei business daily said on Monday.

The paper, which cited unidentified sources with knowledge of the case, did not say when the raid took place, NBC News reported.

A spokesman for the country's anti-monopoly watchdog agency said he could not confirm the report but added: "I won't say the contents are incorrect."

An Amazon Japan spokeswoman declined to comment.



Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Millennials Cause Home Ownership to Drop ]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 15:59:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/house_home_+for_sale_owner_generic.jpg

The nation’s home ownership rate fell to its all-time low, and could drop further in the months to come, NBC News reported. 

The rate fell to 62.9 percent, the same as it was in 1965, when the U.S. Census started tracking the metric.

The drop is largely due to a delay in home ownership by millennials, who are burdened by student loan debt and are delaying life choices like marriage and parenthood. They have the lowest ownership rate of their age group in history. 

"While the millennial home ownership rate continues to decline, it's important to note that the decrease could be just as likely due to new renter household formation as it is their ability to buy homes," wrote Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia. "Certainly low inventory and affordability isn't helping their efforts to own, but moving out of their parents' basement and into a rental unit is also a good sign for the housing market." 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Image Source]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Beats Analyst Expectations in Second Quarter]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 21:32:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/FacebookLogo3.jpg

Facebook beat Wall Street expectations, posting stronger earnings for the second-quarter, NBC News reported. 

The company reported $6.44 billion in revenue, according to a release posted at the end of the trading day. Analysts expected Facebook to earn $6.02 billion. The boost was due to strong user engagement and dominance in mobile and digital advertisements. 

The company reported 1.71 billion users. Daily active users were 1.13 billion on average for June 2016, amounting to a 17 percent increase year over year. Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook will now focus on expanding the community. 

"We have five billion people left to connect," Zuckerberg said. "The biggest thing we can do to help people and grow the business is to focus on improving and expanding this already dynamic and large community we have using the Facebook app."



Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA['Pokemon Go' Could Generate Billions For Apple: Analyst]]> Wed, 20 Jul 2016 18:50:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-546258766.jpg

Apple can thank the "Pokemon Go" phenomenon for the billions of sales expected to come into the company, CNBC reports.

Laura Martin, managing director of investment firm Needham & Co., estimates that the smartphone game could generate $3 billion in revenue for Apple in the next 12 to 24 months as the game expands into more countries.

Martin attributes Apple's success to its ecosystem business structure and other revenue generators such as the App Store.

"The next genius that makes a hit game, Apple shares on that one too. So while this one may be transitory, Apple has an option on all future hit games over the iOS platform," Martin said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[‘Cake Boss’ Star Scouts Chicago Bakery Locations]]> Fri, 15 Jul 2016 18:50:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/carlos+bake+shop.jpg

"Cake Boss" star Buddy Valastro continues to mesmerize fans with his masterpiece creations at bakeries around the country, but soon, those desserts could be made at a Chicago bakery.

A Carlo’s Bakery spokesperson said Friday that the team is scouting potential Chicago locations.

“[Valastro] goes to Chicago multiple times a year and I think Buddy can't travel anywhere without thinking of opening a bakery,” Nicole Valdes, Carlo’s spokesperson, said.

Valdes said Valastro has been thinking about opening a bakery in Chicago for quite some time.

If and when the bakery will open is not confirmed.

The Cake Boss is in Chicago for the TLC Summer Block Party at Soldier Field Saturday, where the network's fan-favorites will bring summer fun to the Windy City.



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[10 Top Consumer Complaints of 2015]]> Thu, 14 Jul 2016 03:24:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/453295293.jpg

Phony IRS agents and other imposter scams topped the list of fastest-growing complaints to state and local consumer protection agencies last year, according to the latest report from the annual survey conducted by Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators.

Thirty-three consumer agencies from 21 states participated in the survey, which asked about the most common complaints they received in 2015, the fastest-growing complaints, the worst complaints, new kinds of consumer problems, agencies’ biggest achievements and challenges, and new laws that are needed to better protect consumers.

Scams of all types were cited as among the worst complaints reported to state and local consumer protection agencies last year. Another new problem that agencies mentioned is the use of iTunes gift cards as a method of payment. Once the scammers get the codes on the gift cards from the victims, they can use those cards to make purchases or sell them on gift-card resale websites.

The top complaints of 2015 were those most frequently cited by the agencies as the most common complaints they received last year.

1. Auto. Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes.

2. Home Improvement/Construction. Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job.

3. Utilities. Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas service.

4. Credit/Debt. Billing and fee disputes, mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud, credit repair, debt relief services, predatory lending, illegal or abusive debt collection tactics.

5. Retail Sales. False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, failure to deliver.

6. Services. Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses, failure to perform.

7. Landlord/Tenant. Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, illegal eviction tactics.

8. Household Goods. Misrepresentations, failure to deliver, faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances.

9. Health Products/Services. Misleading claims; unlicensed practitioners.

10. (Tie) Internet Sales. Misrepresentations or other deceptive practices, failure to deliver online purchases; Fraud. Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home schemes, grant offers, fake check scams, imposter scams and other common frauds.

The top suggestion for new laws needed to better protect consumers was to ban forced arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. These clauses prevent consumers from taking legal action to enforce their rights and change company behavior. Other suggestions included free credit freezes for consumers on demand, stricter laws against Caller ID spoofing and robocalls, used car lemon laws, and stronger curbs on abusive debt collection.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>