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Since the first of the year, Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) has seen a 59.5 percent increase in local complaints compared to the same time last year. Complaints are up around the country as well, with the national complaints increasing over 50 percent.

“Throughout the pandemic we have seen an increase in activity on bbb.org and data shows that our monthly site inquiries and visits are up over the same time in 2020,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern NC. “We know that consumers are turning to BBB now more than ever, which provides their fellow consumers additional information when researching a business.”

The recent increase in consumer complaints has come across all types of industries, but a few of the top business types include collections agencies, online retailers, construction, technology, and fitness.

BBB offers the following marketplace best practices for consumers:

Shop with a credit card. This provides more protection than a debit card or cash.

Use a trustworthy business. Research a business beforehand to see their reviews, ask friends for references, and look for a trustworthy BBB Accredited Business at bbb.org.

Keep record of purchases. Whether shopping online or in store, be sure to get proof of purchase in case you need to make a return or your card is hit for more than the original price.

Avoid too good to be true deals. Oftentimes if it seems too good, the deal is likely a scam.

Ignore unsolicited messages. Scammers will often send unsolicited emails, phone calls, or text messages trying to entice you with an urgent deal or claim you have a bill to pay.

Use secure websites. Regardless of what you’re purchasing, make sure you are on a secure site by confirming https and a lock icon are in the URL.

To leave a BBB complaint, find a trustworthy BBB Accredited Business near you, or learn more about starting with trust in the marketplace, visit bbb.org.

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