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

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

Consumer complaintsIn 2019, consumers filed more than 16,000 complaints against area businesses, showing an increase of 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.”

Verified customer reviewsIn 2019, customers submitted more than 13,000 verified reviews about businesses, showing an increase of 37 percent 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.”

Website inquiriesIn 2019, total inquiries were up nearly 6 percent 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.”

Top complaint generators2019:

1. Auto repair.

2. Auto dealers — new.

3. Collections agencies.

4. Banks.

5. Newspapers.

2018:

1. Auto dealers — new.

2. Collection agencies.

3. Auto dealers — used.

4. Auto repair.

5. Banks.

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

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