National Consumer Protection Week: Advice about used cars and how to avoid becoming a victim

The attorney general's hotline is 1-800-441-2555.

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Advice about used cars and how to avoid becoming a victim
"Most of the complaints we get are about used cars. The number one issue we see is about the cars breaking down shortly after the consumer takes the car home," said Sarah Frasch, the chief of consumer protection for the PA Attorney General's Office.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- March 5-11 is National Consumer Protection Week. Action News has the top three consumer complaint categories and what to do to avoid becoming a victim.

Sarah Frasch is the chief of consumer protection for the Pennsylvania Attorney General. She says the top three complaint categories are cars, followed by home improvement contractors and real estate issues, specifically landlord-tenant issues.

"Most of the complaints we get are about used cars," Frasch said. "The number one issue we see is about the cars breaking down shortly after the consumer takes the car home."

And some problems may not be visible to the naked eye, so before you buy a used car, test drive the vehicle and have it inspected by a third-party mechanic you trust. It is your right under the law to take those steps.

The other thing is to make sure you understand the financing terms and all the details of the transaction, including fees for warranties and other items.

"Make sure you understand all of the terms of that contract and that you agree with it before you sign the contract," said Frasch.

Frasch also talked about the number of complaints the attorney general's office receives each year.

"Prior years, we were averaging anywhere from 25,000 to 28,000. Last year, we had a huge jump and we were in the 30,000s," she said.

Action News asked why the rise in numbers?

"I think a lot of it is you all sharing our stories and getting the word out how we're able to help," said Frasch. "And this past year, we were able to save consumers millions of dollars through that process."

Any consumer can file a complaint with the AG's office and it will try to mediate.

The attorney general's hotline is 1-800-441-2555.