Preparing Your Complaint
Before you file your complaint with us, take a moment to make sure you have all of your important information. Please note: The system cannot save your complaint in progress, so you will need to complete the form in one sitting. The more details you can provide, the more effectively we can review your complaint. Important information includes:
The name of the business or individual you’re filing a complaint against
The business/individual’s full address, including zip code
A detailed description of your complaint
Explanation of how you came into contact with the business/individual
Transaction dates and amounts
Contract information (when appropriate) with payment details
How you may have attempted to resolve the dispute, including the names of people you spoke with
Note: You can also attach supporting documents when filling out the online complaint form.
Your Complaint Is Public
Complaints filed with the Consumer Protection Division are potentially an open record. This means any member of the public may file an open records request and view your complaint.
Steps to File a Complaint Against a Company
If you have problems with an item or service you purchased, you have the right to complain. Start your complaint with the seller or manufacturer. If they don’t help, seek help from your local government or a consumer organization. Use these steps to get started.
1. Collect Your Documents
Gather your records: sales receipts, warranties, contracts, or work orders.
Print email messages or records of any contact you’ve had with the seller about the purchase.
2. Contact the Seller
Use USA.gov’s sample complaint letter to explain your problem.
Send your complaint to a salesperson or customer service representative. Search for a company’s customer service contact information on its website. Look for links that say “contact us,” “customer service,” “about us,” or “privacy statement.”
Take your complaint to the management team if a salesperson didn’t help,
3. Contact Third Parties If the Seller Doesn’t Fix Your Problem
If the seller doesn’t resolve the issue, a government office or a consumer organization may be able to help:
File a complaint with your local consumer protection office or the state agency that regulates the company.
Notify the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in your area about your problem. The BBB tries to resolve your complaints against companies.
Some federal agencies accept complaints about companies, but may not resolve your problem. They use complaints to help them investigate fraud.
Contact econsumer.gov. if you are complaining about items you bought online, from a seller outside the U.S.
Some problems with sellers are the result of fraud and scams. If you believe that you have been the victim of fraud, file a complaint with the correct government agency. File telemarketing complaints with the Do Not Call Registry.
4. Seek Legal Help
If other options don’t work:
Resolve your problem through the legal system. Find free or low-cost legal help.
Try an alternative dispute program, such as arbitration, conciliation, or mediation.
Consumer protection laws
Consumer protection laws offer an important part of a reliable market economy. While “buyer beware” was once the motto of the free market, these regulations help keep sellers honest, with no threat of unpleasant surprises.
Suppose you buy a new bike for your daughter as a birthday gift. When she tries it in the park three weeks later, you both notice the front tire is bent. What do you do? Should you fix it yourself and avoid the trouble of going back to the store? Has the return time lapsed? Is the bike still covered under warranty? What do you do if you didn’t purchase extra insurance coverage? Does a raincheck apply if the price suddenly changes if you need to buy a new item?
The blue sweater you bought has given you a rash. When you look at the label, you notice that it’s not 100% cotton as advertised. Instead, it is made from a mix of unpronounceable materials. Have you got a legitimate dispute with the seller?
These are some of the scenarios that customers go through daily. Consumer protection legislation is meant to protect us against these types of issues. That is why it’s important to familiarize ourselves with the more common consumer protection laws.