Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "consumer complaints" ...

  • Certified Dangerous: Used Cars' Airbags

    An investigation of 1650 consumer complaints about the failure of airbags to deploy during car accidents such as head-on collisions, rollovers and broadside crashes. Some airbags are not replaced when the vehicle is being fixed after an accident, leaving the driver more succeptible to injury.
  • Insurance Investigation

    The Star examined the insurance industry, using consumer complaints totaling more than 10,000 pages, interviewed hundreds of sources and gathered records for all 50 states. After sifting through information regarding the best and worst companies for consumer complaints both nationwide and in Kansas and Missouri, the Star discovered that Allstate Insurance of Northbrook, Illinois "had the most complaints for claims handing in the country," and "Farmer's Insurance Exchange of Los Angeles led all insurers for complaints over using credit histories to set premiums - a practice consumer advocates call discriminatory." In Kansas, American Investors Life Insurance Co. Inc. of Topeka had the worst complaint record of any annuity provider in the state. The study also found widespread fraud, and also that the insurance industry receives more complaints than banks and stock brokerages. Adding to the problems are the people who have scammed billions of dollars out of insurance companies, which raises premiums across the board.
  • Recalled Trucks Burn as Ford Fiddles

    In recent years, Ford Trucks have been the target of a massive recall. Yet some of the models - including some not on the recall list - continue to catch fire and burn. Consumer Affairs first started examining fires in Ford trucks and SUVs in 2003, "citing instance after instance of trucks spontaneously bursting into flame, often while parked and unattended." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ordered a recall of an estimated 3.8 million Ford trucks from the 1994-2002 models, but the recall moved slowly as Ford cited delays in getting replacement parts. And as trucks continued to catch fire, so did consumer complaints, which were "stonewalled" by Ford. In addition, some people's 2003 models were prone to fire, but when their trucks burst into flame and were ruined, they were informed that there is no recall protocol for 2003 models.
  • Auto Disrepair

    The authors investigated the auto repair industry and possible means for remedies when consumers are unhappy with repairs done on their cars. There is little regulation in the industry; that leaves both consumers and merchants vulnerable.
  • Taken For a Ride

    This investigation "exposed significant flaws in the systems used to license and regulate taxicabs in the District of Columbia." The reporter found that taxicabs often fail inspections and that consumer complaints are typically ignored. When reporters from the Washingtonian tested the cab system, they found that they were charged an incorrect fare almost fifty percent of the time.
  • Where's my stuff?

    This hidden camera investigation uncovers a scam by internet moving companies. It found some of these internet moving companies stealing consumer's furniture and personal belongings, while overcharging them at the same time A lack of governmental oversight and ineffective federal regulations have created a vacuum that has allowed moving companies to prey on consumers. The laws are rarely enforced, and often times corrupt movers close up shop when there are too many consumer complaints and re-open under new names, making it impossible for consumers to check them out.
  • The Plane Truth

    Dateline investigates chronic customer service complaints about the airline industry including flight delays, mishandled baggage and in-flight service. Dateline built its own database to track flights and then compare their information given out by the airlines about delayed flights; many times they were told that flights they knew were delayed were on time. They found that the airlines could be doing a lot more, but since they aren't being pressured to, they aren't.
  • Dine at Your Own Risk

    This 7-part WSMV-TV investigation takes and in-depth look at how well commercial kitchens in Tennessee are protecting consumers health. The authors found major flaws in the state's regulatory process, standards that lag behind tougher federal recommendations, and alarming number of restaurants that repeatedly fail to pass inspections and consumer complaints that in many cases get little attention.
  • (Untitled)

    CTS is a long distance telephone company with a long list of consumer complaints. Customers say they've been "slammed"; switched to CTS without their permission or knowledge. KGTV finds that the bulk of these unhappy customers are immigrants with problems understanding English and bigger problems getting their service switched back to the long distance company of their choice. (January 24, - May 25, 1996)
  • European Hair

    A San Diego company advertises enticing but expensive "hair replacement systems". Only these hair replacement systems turn out to be nothing more than cheap wigs stuck on customers' heads with super glue. It's a scheme that generates alot of money and consumer complaints. KGTV investigates and finds the man behind this scheme has quite a past. (June 23, Aug. 25, Dec. 22, 1995)