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What To Do If You Have a Consumer Complaint in Texas

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This article provides information on steps to take if you have a consumer complaint.

This article guides readers on the steps necessary to file a consumer complaint with the state, as well as methods to enforce a Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) claim.

Where should I go if I have a consumer complaint?

The Office of the Attorney General accepts complaints against legitimate and fraudulent businesses. When the complaint involves a legitimate business, you can follow the steps outlined on this page to try and resolve your complaint. A legitimate business is one that has a physical location that it is not trying to conceal and a telephone number listed in telephone directories. It advertises its address and contact information. It has a history, a future, and a reputation to protect.

Should I contact the business first?

First try to work directly with the business. Take your problem to the salesperson, manager or the company's customer service representative. Most problems are resolved at this level.

With a legitimate business, always remember that you, the customer, have leverage. Business management values customer good will. So always start by communicating your problem to the business.

If an employee will not or cannot address your problem, ask to speak to a manager. Be calm and polite. Assume the business will want to help. Clearly state your problem. Very often, the business will make you an offer to set the problem right.

Try to be clear about what the problem is. Is the product not what you were led to expect? Is the product defective or broken? Was the product incomplete or a service not fully provided?

If you cannot get satisfaction from the manager, consider whether the business is a franchise or branch office. You might get results by contacting the corporate headquarters. Try sending a well-written letter stating the problem. Attach copies (not originals!) of receipts and other documentation to support your case.

What if the business won't help?

If the business will not resolve a problem directly, you can file a complaint online with the Texas Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau, or the Federal Trade Commission.

Many industries and professions are licensed and regulated. In addition to complaining to the Attorney General, FTC and BBB, you should complain to the licensing or regulatory authority. They accept and review complaints. The professionals they license must answer complaints in order to remain in good standing.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation provides Texas license information on its home page. Many professionals (e.g., barbers, electricians) are licensed by TDLR itself. Others (such as doctors) are regulated by specialized regulatory agencies (doctors, for example, are licensed by the Texas Medical Board).

What if I cannot contact the business?

Legitimate businesses in Texas should be registered with the Secretary of State. The business's registered agent and address should be available from the Secretary of State. If you have been defrauded by an illegitimate business, report all known information to the Attorney General. 

Can I file a lawsuit?

The DTPA requires that you give written notice of your problem to the merchant or seller at least 60 days before you can file suit in court. This means that you are required to notify the seller in writing, by certified mail. If the seller does not respond within the 60 days, you may file the claim. See our information on the State Bar of Texas's Lawyer Referral and Information Service as well as our information on pursuing small claims in Justice Court.

Where can I find more information on consumer complaints?

See File a Con­sumer Complaint at the website of the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division. 

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