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Telemarketers Again Top 2013 Complaint List

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – When it comes to what really bugged us in 2013, telemarketers topped the list.

Gripes about violations of the state's "Do Not Call" list easily dominated the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' top complaints for 2013.

The state agency reported Monday that 18,862, or nearly 40 percent, of the 47,226 complaints lodged between Jan. 1 and Dec. 20 involved telemarketers and other telephone sales operators dialing numbers on the "Do Not Call" list. In second place were 3,626 complaints about telemarketers in general.

Fuel, communications, landlord and tenant disputes, problems with real estate brokers and salespeople, cable, banking and motor vehicle sales problems were the other most common areas of complaints.

"Do Not Call" violations have topped the complaint list for four consecutive years. This year saw an increase of more 1,000 complaints growing from 17,772 in 2012 to 18,862 in 2013. The increase in complaints is consistent with the increase in subscribers to the Florida Do Not Call List.

The agency currently offers five-year subscriptions to the list free of charge for residential and mobile telephone numbers.

Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, has filed a measure that would update the "Do Not Call" list to include more modern methods of communications. The bill (SB 450) would expand the ban on solicitations to include text and electronic communications made through a landline, mobile or Internet telephone service.

Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department's hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) for Spanish-speaking callers.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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