How To File Consumer Complaints

IF you think you’ve been scammed by a company, I’ll explain WHERE you should file consumer complaints and WHY you should file your consumer complaints to various State, Local, and Federal Agencies (as well as the BBB). The more complaints you file with EVERY agency the better decision can be made on behalf of all parties involved – consumers as well as the company you are complaining about.

Although the following steps for filing consumer complaints apply mostly to filing complaints against sellers of home business, business opportunities, and other “work at home” materials, they apply to many other types of consumer complaints as well. If you have a question about a particular situation or anything that follows, feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comments section and I will answer you or find somebody that can.

IF you run a site where you believe any  information in this post may be helpful to your visitors, clients, family, friends,  feel free to copy everything verbatim or make any changes you feel necessary. NO attribution or linkbacks are expected or required. This is only ONE facet of how to disrupt fraud distribution channels, but it is an important one.

IMPORTANT! Do NOT file complaints just because you are “mad” at a company. However, if you feel a company has acted deceptively in your dealings with them or is engaging in unfair business practices then the following is the where and why of how to file complaints:

1. You should DEFINITELY file complaints with the Better Business Bureau. You can file here:

Click here to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

WHY file complaints with the BBB:

I’m not a big fan of the BBB for “evaluating” companies on their own – but they do a GREAT JOB of collecting and organizing complaints.

Not only that, but the FTC reviews complaints from the BBB on a regular basis as part of their gathering of extrinsic evidence on cases (essentially that means evidence outside their review of the actual sales materials and sales process).

2. You should DEFINITELY file with your AGs Office and the AG of any state that the company is operating out of. You can find the relevant Attorneys General’s offices here:

Click here for a full list of Current Attorneys General’s Offices (note: will take a few seconds to load)

WHY file complaints with the AGs:

One of my friends is an attorney that used to work for the Missouri Attorneys General’s office. Here’s what she told me:

She said that typically ONE state AG will will investigate a company first and then file suit against them if they feel it is justified. After that OTHER AGs will sometimes also file against the company. And AFTER the AGS file, the FTC takes notice and considers filing against the company.

3. You should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Click here to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

WHY file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission

Again, this has to do with collecting extrinsic evidence that the FTC sometimes factors into their cases.

4. You should file a complaint with IC3.gov (The Internet Crime Complaint Center)

Click here to file a complaint with IC3.gov

WHY file complaints with IC3.gov

IC3.gov is useful for law enforcement to determine if certain potential cases are related, even if they appear to be from different sectors.

5. It may be helpful to contact your State’s Office Of Consumer Protection

Click here to find your State’s Office Of Consumer Protection

Why contact your State’s Office Of Consumer Protection

Some Consumer Protection Offices do facilitate dispute resolution. However, you should note that certain complaints may be within the jurisdiction of other local, state, or federal offices.

6. Contact Your District Attorney’s (United States Attorney’s) Office

Click here to find your District Attorney’s Contact Information

Why contact your District Attorney’s Office

The District Attorney prosecutes criminal matters and represents the U.S. Government in civil matters.

7. File A Complaint With The United States Postal Inspection Service

If you believe you’re a victim of fraud related to the U.S. Mail, including mailed sweepstakes, lotteries, on-line auctions, work-at-home scams or chain letters, report your concern to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service as mail fraud.

Click here to file a complaint with the United States Postal Inspection Service

The Bottom Line: Why You Should File Complaints

Many businesses spend a significant amount of time discussing “clever” ways to word disclaimers. The question of course is whether or not the wording actually complies with the intention of the regulations that have been put in place.

Many companies know that if consumers think the company has used a valid disclaimer that the consumers will not complain. Filing complaints is an essential way to put companies that engage in potentially questionable business practices on law enforcement’s radar.

Although it’s obvious that no company wants their customers to complain, the reasons why they don’t want their customers to complain is a major element of what separates a legitimate company from one that is questionable or explicitly engaging in deceptive practices.

The basic plan for many of the worst companies is this:

Step 1: Include some sort of disclaimer which appears to cover parts of the sales process consumers are likely to complain about.

Step 2: Hire 3rd party call centers that specialize in fielding complaints from the consumers that aren’t stopped in Step 1. These centers are specifically trained to refer customers back to the disclaimers in order to make the consumer believe their efforts are hopeless.

Step 3: If a consumer isn’t stopped by Step 1 & Step 2, they will often then post their compaints on blogs and complaint sites (of course some post right away before Steps 1 & 2). Although it can be useful for consumers to post their experiences on blogs and complaint sites it can also be the only thing that consumers do.

Many of the companies realize this and will start posting as their “Customer Support” within the blogs and make statements like “We are dismayed to see the statements people are making when we are in fact helping so many people”.  It’s a last ditch effort to try to fly under law enforcement’s radar by using one last strategy to prevent consumers from filing complaints.

Related:

If You're Struggling To Make Money Online - Click Here To Watch This Free Video And FINALLY Get Answers To All Of Your Questions About Making Money Online

Comments

  1. Hello all,

    Thanks for posting all the helpful information.

  2. No Justice, No Peace says:

    Hi,

    I’m in the process of doing just that.

    Thanks for explaining everything in such a logical manner.

  3. I wish I knew how to file complaints before. The fact and figures are simply too far gone now and I am out of pocket $1000′s.

    The problem is that people have to get ripped off first, then make a complaint.

    Never mind. I am no longer buying lame Internet Marketing courses, scammy coaching programs, or rip-off memberships.

    Many thanks for the article :)

  4. Excellent reading and information. I will follow up with the organizations and groups that you mentioned. Thank you very much for posting this.

  5. Hello PAUL,

    Can you tell something about this website http://PartnerWithPaul.com , have you heard of it before?

  6. Dear All, Thank you for posting such a nice articles. Thank you once again.

  7. In India you can file consumercomplaints at the following website-
    http://www.clientcomplain.com

  8. I knew about some of these offices, but the Attorney General just says ALL of the home businesses
    are scams. I think that is a little extreme, but he could be right, because I have diligently tried to find a legitimate one for about 5 years. Getting a refund as we speak. That’s rare. But I have to say I
    was told about IC3.gov and sent them several. And guess what I got a check from 3 of them. I believe
    they are from the same guy by the check. Interestingly he said “I am sorry you weren’t happy with
    the product.” He’s delusional. He never sent anything!!! That was just to protect himself in case he went to court. I am now going on the internet and Googling all these, and finding out who is real.
    Keep up the good work.

  9. Hi Paul,

    I am doing the exhaustive work of filing complaints with the various entities you have listed. I must say it is very time consuming. Have you ever heard of Ecommerce Support Intl.?

  10. I just found 2 other names for the Ecommerce Support Intl. scam. “mystayathomeincome.com” and “mystayathomeincome.com” This is the” Jane Simmons post links on websites” business that I was original trying to log into. The name at the top reads INCOME MASTER Institute. I am continuing my filings of complaints per Paul’s list above. Good luck to all. I wish there was a way we could all speak to each other.

    Thanks
    Jamie Martinez

    • Hi Jamie,

      Sorry I missed your comment. I have a warning about Income Masters Institute here. I used to have a forum here, but it gets too much spam. I’ll try to work out something. You’re right, while the comments section on blogs are great, it’s not the same as having a forum.

  11. Elizabeth Messer says:

    I need to find out if anyone has ever heard of CEO, Nathaniel Hauws. with The Money Report If so, do you find him and his “work at home” a scam? If so PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT HAPPENED OR WHAT (IF ANYTHING) HAVE YOU HEARD?…..Thank You, Elizabeth Messer

    • Elizabeth,

      Nathaniel Hauws site “The Money Report” is a fake review site that promotes many scams. The photograph used on the site is a stock photo and most likely Nathaniel Hauws is a fictional character.

      The registration details for The-Money-Report.com are as follows:
      Domain name: the-money-report.com

      Registrant Contact:

      Nate Hall ()

      Fax:
      2777 Willow Dr.
      Lehi, S 84043
      US

      Administrative Contact:

      Hall ([email protected])
      +1.8005041075
      Fax: +1.5555555555
      2777 Willow Dr.
      Lehi, S 84043
      US

      Is there a specific scam that you got caught up in? Do you have the name of it?
      Paul (Founder, WorkAtHomeTruth) recently posted..How to Score Online Writing GigsMy Profile

  12. Hi Paul,

    Love your website.

    New product launched 11-28-12 Viral Net Proits by Jason Hunt. I checked Honest Click Bank Reviews, Nick Hong, and a couple others and the reviews were great so I bought it for $39.00 a week ago. I screwed up on my email address so I couldn’t download the product. I sent Viral Net Profits two emails explaining the problem and asked them to fix it so I could download the product I bought. No response but I received a call from them in the evening a couple of days ago. The guy wasn’t interested in my problem. His only interest was in how much money I wanted to earn. I didn’t tell him so he hung up on me. Think he wanted to upsell me. Any comments would be appreciated. Thank you and Happy New Year.

    • Mary, I’ve seen Nick Hong recommend some products that I find highly questionable. Looks like it’s being sold through ClickSure, too. You might want to take a look at this discussion:

      http://tim-bonner.com/clicksure/ (I commented in that discussion a couple times, but I don’t know who Tim Bonner is).

      I could be wrong, but that call sounds like they were trying to upsell you – probably to high priced coaching – which is almost always a nightmare for the buyer from what I’ve seen from comments here at WorkAtHomeTruth.

      I would recommend you file a dispute with your credit card company ASAP – usually have 60 days – more if it’s fraud. Dispute procedures are usually on the back of your CC statement. If you paid with a debit card you’ll need to talk to your bank.

Speak Your Mind

CommentLuv badge