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Top 10 consumer complaints announced for year 2019 | Lifestyles

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Tennessee Attorney General’s Office Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has announced the top 10 complaint categories for 2019.

DCA received a total of 4,250 complaints in 2019 and recovered both services and funds for Tennessee by working with consumers and businesses. Overall, the number of consumer complaints increased in 2019 compared to 2018 when 3,750 complaint were reviewed by Consumer Affairs.

The division’s staff works to quickly route complaints so that appropriate action can be taken in cases where deceptive business practices, frauds or scams are found to be at play.

The following are the 2019 Top 10 complaint categories:

•Internet Sales: 960 complaints.

This category involves consumer dissatisfaction with items or services purchased via the internet. Common complaints include issues with refunds and returns, as well as the business not providing the product or service that was advertised or paid for. In many of these cases the product or service was solicited via email or social media advertisements. The Division of Consumer Affairs often works to mediate these complaints.

•Home Improvements, Home Repair, Home Warranties: 491 complaints.

This category includes home warranties, as well as hiring a contractor for services to repair or improve the quality of your home. The most common complaints involve quality of work, incomplete work after receiving payment, and structural damage caused by employed individuals or businesses. Many of these complaints are referred to Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors.

•Products & Sales: 443 complaints.

This category includes disputes regarding the purchase/sale of products, including items purchased in a store or via the telephone. Common complaints include issues with refunds and returns, as well as the business not providing the product as advertised. The Division of Consumer Affairs often works to mediate these complaints.

•Timeshare/Vacation Clubs: 260 complaints.

This category relates to consumers purchasing property under a timesharing agreement and the sale of these agreements. The most common complaints reported high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresentation of the contract, and resale scams. The division will often refer these complaints to Tennessee Real Estate Commission and Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

•Motor Vehicle – Used Sales & Advertising: 229 complaints.

This category often includes consumer dissatisfaction with the sale of the used vehicle they purchased. Disputes over the vehicle’s condition and deception regarding the sale, advertising, and titling were the most common complaints. Consumer Affairs often works closely with Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission when handling these types of complaints.

In addition, these complaints may be referred to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Tennessee Department of Revenue.

•Personal/Professional Services: 391 complaints.

This category relates to services offered by professionals working in the state of Tennessee, including hair stylists, massage therapists, locksmiths, exterminators, photographers, surveyors, and others. Common complaints include the quality of service, charges for service not received, and problems redeeming gift certificates for services offered. Some agencies these complaints could be referred to include Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s Division of Regulatory Boards and Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

•Heath Services & Products: 222 complaints.

Consumers’ most common complaints include being misquoted for services and inaccurate billing. The division may mediate complaints or refer appropriate complaints to Tennessee Department of Health.

•Landlord/Tenant: 195 complaints.

This category relates to consumers leasing rental property in the state of Tennessee. The most common complaints relate to security deposits and the conditions of the rental property. These complaints are commonly referred to city and county building codes enforcement and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

•Debtor/Creditor: 163 complaints.

This category includes matters related to debt collection companies, payday loans, credit repair companies, and check-cashing services. Consumer complaints often related to harassing phone calls or billing issues. These complaints are often referred to Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions and Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s Regulatory Boards Division.

•Insurance: 177 complaints.

This category relates to insurance issues such as those involving consumer health insurance, pet insurance, and unlicensed insurance companies. Most consumers complained about policy coverage and claims. These complaints are often referred to Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s Insurance Division.

Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs transferred from Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) to the Office of the Attorney General (AG) on September 30, 2019. The move streamlined efforts to educate and protect consumers and created a direct link between the consumer specialists working directly with consumers and the attorneys who investigate and work to resolve cases.

For more consumer resources, or to file a complaint, visit the DCA website at tn.gov/consumer or contact us at 800-342-8385 or consumer.affairs@ag.tn.gov.



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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?

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When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances

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Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit

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Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.

 

 

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