We're complaining more but help is harder to find


Consumers have more to complain about, but the agencies they are complaining to have fewer resources with which to help them, a national survey found. A lot of problems people are having, the survey said, were directly related to the country's sour economy.

"It's ironic that at the same time that more people are asking state and local consumer agencies for help, their budgets are shrinking," said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection for the Consumer Federation of America.

"They deserve public support so they can continue to protect consumers from losing their hard-earned cash and ensure that the marketplace is fair for legitimate businesses."

Grant said that 62% of the consumer agencies surveyed reported an increase in complaints in 2008. The average increase was 10%, she said, with some seeing increases by as much as 47%. At the same time, officials reported staff and service cuts due to shrinking state and county budgets.