Education debuts on Illinois Top 10 consumer complaint list

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For the first time, education-related issues made the Top 10 Illinois Consumer Complaints, ranking No. 7 on the annual list. (WLS)

From collection agencies, to home improvement problems and identity theft, a new list is out of the top consumer complaints in Illinois. But there's a first on this year's list that college students and recent grads will want to pay attention to.

For the first time education related issues made the annual list of the Top 10 Illinois Consumer Complaints, ranking at no. 7.

Young people buried under tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt are surprised it took this long for their complaints to make the list. State officials say students are being preyed.

"It's a totally heinous system that put young people in a position where they have to take so much debt," says student Kevin Suemnicht.

"It's both the rise for predatory for profit colleges as well as the large amount of loan debt that students have accumulated that account for this," says Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Madigan is fighting back, filing a lawsuit Friday March 4 against Lombard-based National Student Loan Rescue claiming the company charges high upfront fees for document preparation services for people looking for student loan relief. The company isn't commenting to ABC 7 on the lawsuit.

"It's a great name. I think if I had problems with my loan, it would sound like a legitimate operation but in fact they are breaking Illinois law and I want them shut down," Madigan says.

Also on the top 10 list is consumer debt and identity theft at nos. 1 and 2 for the eighth year in a row. The Attorney General's office also took in a lot of telecommunications complaints, such as problems with telemarketers, cable, satellite and phone providers, enough to rank telecommunications problems at no. 3. Coming in at no. 4 is construction and home improvement-related issues, and at no. 5 is used car sales.
Experts say the best way not to become a scam victim is to do your homework.

"The way to put scams out of business as you know, for consumers, not to give them their business," says Steve Barnas of the Better Business Bureau.
The state attorney general's office received more than 25,000 complaints last year, a record. People are taking advantage of the new online complaint option.

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