Travel travails top list of 2015 consumer complaints

Ever wondered what consumers complain about the most?

Thanks to SiteJabber, we now know. And it’s no surprise.

SiteJabber, established in part with a grant from the National Science Foundation, allows consumers to review and check the reputations of online businesses. Over 46 million people have used this site since 2008, with almost one-third of that traffic in 2015. In 2014, SiteJabber began to collect data on the most common complaints.

Take a guess: What do you think are the top ten complaints in 2015? Here is their list from lowest number of complaints to highest:

10. Senior scams
9. Sharing economy snafus
8. Hidden subscriptions
7. Pet problems
6. Bogus event tickets
5. Job seeking complications
4. Wedding disasters
3. Overseas customer non-service
2. Online dating heartbreak
1. Travel travails

It’s no big shock that travel is top of the list. But surprise! In 2014, it wasn’t even in their top four. But this year travel complaints were up 157 percent. From à la carte airline pricing to flight cancellations and lack of legroom to hotels that “lost” reservations to travel insurance that doesn’t insure much, there is a lot to complain about.

How can you avoid having travel complaints? Use a reputable travel agent, double-check your reservations directly with airlines and hotels, read the fine print when purchasing, and store copies of your important documents on your smartphone.

One other area to note: The new sharing economy. From Airbnb to Uber and others, this is a growing problem area for consumers. Customer support for these services is often lacking, and item descriptions are not always accurate. Be sure to read the descriptions and reviews carefully, because they may not be telling the full truth. Also, look for hidden costs when booking or purchasing.

Related story:   Are gift cards ethical?

A few things to note: First, there are some companies that are known for helping when there is a problem. SiteJabber has a list of its Consumers’ Choice companies. Next, consumers are not always right. There are times when a consumer might bend the truth or flat-out lie to get something they want.

What are your top complaints? Has a company surprised you with a positive resolution to your problem? What can companies do to better address complaints in 2016?

Will consumer complaints grow or decrease in 2016?

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Kent Lawrence

Kent Lawrence is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He is a husband, father to two, executive pastor, travel enthusiast and sometime writer. You can contact him at

  • LonnieC

    Wow! First time I’ve seen an absolute zero on one side of the vote.

  • Carchar

    Well, that didn’t last long…

  • LonnieC


  • judyserienagy

    Consumer complaints will continue to grow until there’s nobody to complain to, then they’ll have us just where they want us … helpless.

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