For the first time, consumer complaints related to education have made Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's annual list of the top 10 consumer issues in the state.
Madigan's office released the consumer complaint list for 2015 on Monday. "Education-related complaints" involving for-profit schools, student loan debt and loan counseling appeared on the list for the first time, ranking No. 7 with 1,523 out of 25,094 total consumer complaints in 2015.
"Unfortunately students who are saddled with crushing debt and who have been misled from achieving their goals submit regular complaints to my office," Madigan said in a statement. "Too many students are unable to build the futures they worked so hard to achieve, and my office will continue to combat the many scams targeting these students."
In releasing the consumer complaint list, Madigan also announced a lawsuit filed by her office against the Lombard-based National Student Loan Rescue and Gregory Kewin, one of its principals, over an alleged student loan debt relief scam.
"The lawsuit alleges that NSLR charges high upfront fees for little more than document preparation services," reads a news release from Madigan's office. "Despite advertising wide-ranging services, such as the ability to get student loans out of default, remove wage garnishments, lower monthly payments and secure loan forgiveness, Madigan alleges NSLR's services amount to little more than applying for federal student loan consolidation, an application process that is already available to borrowers for free from the U.S. Department of Education."
Meanwhile, for the eighth year in a row, consumer debt and identity theft took the number one and two spots on Madigan's list of consumer woes, respectively.
Here is the full list with each category's corresponding number of complaints:
1. Consumer Debt (mortgages, collection agencies, banks)
2. Identity Theft (government document fraud, credit cards, utilities, data breaches)
3. Telecommunications (telemarketing, cable and satellite TV, phone service and repairs, cell phones)
4. Construction/Home Improvement (remodeling, roofs and gutters, heating and cooling, plumbing)
5. Used Auto Sales/Motor Vehicles (as-is used cars, financing, warranties)
6. Promotions/Schemes (phone scams, investment schemes, lottery scams, phishing)
7. Education (for-profit schools, student loan debt, loan counseling)
8. Internet/Mail Order Products (Internet and catalog purchases, TV and radio advertising)
9. Fraud Against Business (consulting services, equipment leasing, directories and publications)
10. Motor Vehicle/Non-Warranty Repair (collision, engines, oil changes and tune-ups)