How do I file a consumer complaint?

Consumers have rights in the United States that protect them from faulty, defective and dangerous products. Because of these rights, consumers can file complaints against products, retailers, manufacturers and designers of products that harm them or do not live up to their promised ability. So, how do I file a consumer complaint?

The first step in the process is to gather all of your paperwork related to the purchase. This includes any receipts, contracts, warranties and other confirmations provided by the retailer or manufacturer. You should also gather any communications you've had with the seller or manufacturer about the product related to your complaint.

Your next step is to contact the local seller of the product, preferably in writing. Start with a local customer service department. Ask to speak with a manager or supervisor if you are still having trouble. If this gets you nowhere, you can then contact the corporate offices or consumer affairs department of the company that sold the product.

The third step in the complaint process is to contact third parties if dealing directly with the company is not yielding any results. Third parties you can contact regarding your complaint include consumer protection offices, state licensing boards and local regulators. Consider contacting the Better Business Bureau in your area as they will attempt to resolve issues between consumers and companies.

If you still are not making any headway with your complaint, you can decide to take legal action against multiple entities related to the product in question. An experienced products liability lawyer will be able to handle your lawsuit against the company in question. Many consumer complaints are settled outside of court in an effort for companies to keep the negative focus away from them.

If you need to file a complaint regarding a product that was purchased solely from an internet-based store, you can file with the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, your state's Attorney General and econsumer.gov if the purchase was made from a foreign retailer.

Source: USA.gov, "Filing a Consumer Complaint," accessed March 21, 2017

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