Washington state consumers reported more problems with online shopping last year, according to a 2006 roundup released today by Attorney General Rob McKenna.
But communications services remained the biggest source of consumer complaints, followed by offline retail, collection agencies and auto sales.
The AG’s office received 819 complaints about “electronic shopping” last year, making it the fifth most common category of consumer complaint. The year before, the category was ninth with 532 complaints.
The rising complaints seem related to overall increases in online shopping. Noting a drop in complaints about online auctions, McKenna said it appears their popularity is waning and consumers are being more cautious online.
“Complaints received by our office suggest that consumers are becoming more careful about bidding for merchandise in online auctions,” he said in the release, “but risk is still there. The Internet is ripe for fraud and some consumers are blindly shopping on sites they are not familiar with. Shoppers should only visit reputable sites in order to ensure trouble-free transactions and reduce the likelihood of becoming victims of identity theft.”
Washingtonians submitted 319 complaints about online auctions last year, down from 774 in 2005.