The Number 1 Consumer Complaint

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By A.R. Bunch

We’ve written several times about the American Love Affair with cars and driving. We’ve also written about a growing trend among younger drivers, who see human error as the major cause of commuter risk and who would gladly let autonomous vehicles do the driving.

Now, according to an article in money watch, there are a few more threats to the American love affair with the car. It’s the number one complaint among consumers.

“1. Auto: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes.”

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According to who? According to a report from the (CFA) Consumer Federation of America and the (NACP) North American Consumer Protection Investigators, who combined to survey 39 state and local agencies in 23 states about last year’s consumer complaints.

To be fair, the biggest complaints were among used car leases. With low to no down payment and shorter commitments, these programs have become more popular lately, but consumers are not fully savvy to these new programs and the lack of consumer protections afforded leasers when compared to purchasers. Still, dishonest salesmen, misrepresentation of performance capabilities like mileage and handling, and cost of repair play a role in people’s recent dissatisfaction with cars.

If it’s such a source of pain could it cause US drivers to finally separate from their beloved cars? It’s likely to depend on age. The answer is likely to depend on age. When the Kicker Staff interviewed drivers at random the majority of drivers believed that automated driving wouldn’t be able to replace an experienced human driver and would therefore only be “safer” if by law all vehicles were driven by a computer.

One driver in particular, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed to have driven for roughly thirty years without an accident. He believed that a computer could likely outdrive his fifteen-year-old son, and his eighty-year-old mother, but would not trust one more than he or his wife.

Another driver interviewed, who worked at a technology company in Portland, Oregon, suggested that drivers could be retested periodically to retain the best human drivers while potentially weeding out commuters who’re better off letting another person or robot drive for them.

The Kicker staff is all for treating a driver’s license as a privilege and not a right. So in the end, the answer to the question of the love affair with driving, no one answer fits all. Some commuters can’t wait for the more economical option to owning their own vehicle that’s also more useful than mass transit. Others will let go of their personal vehicle when you pry their cold dead body from it. Lucky for us all that we’ve got a little time to prepare for a transition.

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