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Massachusetts Better Business Bureau releases top 2011 complaints

Have you ever hired somebody to do some home improvement or contracting for you, only to wind up with piles of lumber or landscaping rock left in your driveway? If you have, you are not alone. Last year, the Massachusetts Better Business Bureau and other state and federal agencies received more complaints about contractors than any other consumer grievance. Used cars, foreclosure schemes and insurance policy complaints rounded out the top consumer disputes filed in 2011 throughout the state.

Consumers have several ways they can deal with grievances including a breach of contract through business litigation and different civil court venues and government departments. Contractor arbitration is one of many avenues of recourse through the state's Division of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

With our state's recent insurance market deregulation, consumers are being duped by their health, home and auto policy carriers that do not cover particular services or procedures. While the deregulation afforded consumers additional and cheaper choices, they also feel duped about what is actually covered. The June 1 tornadoes in western Massachusetts caused a massive influx of complaints about policies that did not cover the repairing or replacement of homes. It's a good idea to frequently review and update your insurance policies.

The Attorney General's consumer protection division reported that they received the most number of calls last year regarding loan modification schemes from people trying to avoid a foreclosure. Be leery of any offers that guarantee new loans or lower monthly payments with a loan modification, especially if the offer requires an upfront fee. Those fees are illegal and those promises are ridiculous.

Source: cbsnews.com, "Got a gripe? Mass. Consumers had many in 2011," March 13, 2012

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