Where to Get Help
Here’s a list of places that might be able to help you with a consumer issue. Even if they can’t solve your specific problem, it’s always a good idea to file a complaint. This is how law enforcement agencies and consumer groups find out about a problem. Most of these places also have a variety of on-line educational materials available.
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
The BBB is not a government agency. It’s a private, not-for-profit organization that “promotes intelligent buying through consumer and business education.” The bureau provides “reliability reports” on businesses and charities throughout the US and Canada. The BBB can help mediate or arbitrate disputes between buyers and sellers. This national site will also help you locate a Better Business Bureau office near you.
YOUR STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE
The National Association of Attorneys General website will help you locate the office in your state. In most cases, you can file a complaint online. Click here for national directory.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
The FTC enforces a variety of federal consumer protection laws which are designed to eliminate unfair or deceptive business practices. In general, the Commission’s efforts are directed toward “stopping actions that threaten consumer’s opportunities to exercise informed choice.”
While the FTC does not resolve individual consumer problems, your complaint will help them investigate fraud and could lead to law enforcement action.
To file a complaint on line, click here.
CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU
The CFPB enforces federal consumer financial laws and protects consumers in the financial marketplace. It accepts complaints about banks, lenders, credit card companies and other financial firms. The agency also works to protect seniors and veterans.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
The FCC regulates radio and TV broadcasters, cable TV and satellite services and telecommunications companies (including interstate long distance, cellular and PCS phones, pagers and two-way radios).
The Consumer Information Bureau handles all consumer-related telecommunications issues from requests for information to filing complaints. You can e-mail the Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-225-5322. To file a complaint on line, click here.
CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION
This federal regulatory agency works to save lives and keep families safe by reducing the risk of injury or death from consumer products. The CPSC has jurisdiction over more than 15,000 kinds of consumer products, but not automobiles, tires, boats, cosmetics, pesticides or medical devices.
This is where to report a dangerous or potentially hazardous product. You will also find an extensive database of recalls, plus tip-sheets on all sorts of safety issues.
To report an injury, death or unsafe product online, click here or call the toll-free safety hotline at 1-800-638-2772.
NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
Auto Safety Hotline: 1-888-327-4236
Go here to get the latest information on vehicle recalls and to find out about government crash test results. The site also has information on safety equipment, from airbags to children’s car seats.
Click here for safety information and recalls or to report a vehicle safety defect.
U.S. POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE
Postal Inspectors target criminals who steal mail or misuse the nations’ postal system to defraud consumers, threaten people or otherwise endanger the American public. The Inspection Service cannot resolve routine business disputes with companies, it can go after a company or individual it believes is intentionally trying to commit fraud.
Click here to file a mail fraud complaint on line.
NATIONAL FRAUD INFORMATION CENTER
The center’s mission is to give consumers the information they need to avoid becoming victims of telemarketing and Internet fraud and to help them get their complaints to law enforcement agencies quickly and easily. The information you provide is automatically sent by electronic means to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. They will handle it just as if you had contacted them directly.