The Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont and Western North Carolina released its 2019 annual report Monday, detailing consumer activity related to businesses located in the BBB’s 37-county service area.

This report includes statistics on consumer complaints, verified customer reviews, website inquiries and the top five types of businesses that generated the most complaints.

In 2019, consumers filed more than 16,000 complaints against area businesses, showing an increase in just over 400 complaints from 2018.

“A small increase in customer complaints is certainly not unusual. With new businesses opening regularly, it just means that there are more businesses to work with and more customers to satisfy,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “Business growth is wonderful for our economy, and making sure consumers are satisfied is extremely important.”

In 2019, customers submitted more than 13,000 verified reviews about businesses, showing an increase in 37% from 2018.

“Customer reviews skyrocketed in 2019,” said Bartholomy. “Potential customers always want to know what third parties say about a business they’re considering working with, and the BBB is a great resource for that. We are thrilled to see customers continuing to take advantage of this outlet by sharing positive or negative feedback about their experience with a business.”

In 2019, total inquiries were up nearly 6% over 2018, showing a total increase of roughly 130,000. According to Bartholomy, “It’s great to see the number of inquiries up, as this represents more consumers using our website to vet businesses before making purchases. It continues to prove how important Accreditation truly is to consumers.”

What were the top complaint generators?

1. Auto Repair

2. Auto Dealers — New

3. Collections Agencies

4. Banks

5. Newspapers

What were the top complaint generators in 2018?

1. Auto Dealers — New

2. Collection Agencies

3. Auto Dealers — Used

4. Auto Repair

5. Banks

Consumers can visit to check out a business, file a complaint or leave a review.

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