Consumer Complaints 101

How to make sure you are effectively heard

letter, preferably certified, with the return receipt requested,” says Hood. Mail is best, since phone calls may be routed to a call center, and e-mails can easily be ignored.

Be clear. “State in unemotional language what happened,” says Hood. Include names and details of anyone you dealt with. The more specific you can be, the better.

State your intentions. If you want your money back, say so. Also, give the company a reasonable time to respond before you take the complaint to the next level.

Where to Complain–Some options for directing your disputes:
Online Complaint Sites This site collects and publishes consumers’ complaints and businesses’ responses. Complaints are listed by date and can be searched by company. Consumers post complaints and can post updates to disputes they have with companies.

Consumer Advocacy Organizations
Better Business Bureau File a complaint and the BBB will contact the company and work to resolve the complaint on your behalf (

Government Resources
Attorney’s General: Look up the attorney general’s office for the state in which the business is based, or the state in which you live at the Website for the National Association of Attorneys General (

Federal Trade Commission The FTC won’t resolve the dispute for you, but it will use the information you provide to investigate cases of fraud ( consumer.shtm).

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