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Filing a Consumer Complaint | USAGov

Filing a Consumer Complaint

Find out what steps to take and who you should contact if you need to file a complaint against a company about a purchase.

What's on This Page How to File a Consumer Complaint Steps to File a Complaint Against a Company File a Complaint About Online Purchases Dispute Resolution Programs Mandatory Arbitration Clauses How to File a Consumer Complaint

Filing a consumer complaint may seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be. Use this graphic to learn the steps to take.

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Steps to File a Complaint Against a Company

After you buy an item or service you may experience problems with your purchase. If this happens, you have the right to complain. Use these steps to get started:

Gather supporting documents , such as sales receipts, warranties, contracts, and work orders from the purchase. Also, print out email messages or logs of any contact you've had with the seller about the purchase. Contact the seller , preferably in writing. You may be able to solve the problem by contacting a salesperson or customer service representative. If this doesn't work, contact a supervisor or manager. If this still fails, try going higher up to the national headquarters. To find the company's customer service contact information, look for "contact us", "customer service", "about us", "terms and conditions" or "privacy statement" on the company's website. Use this sample complaint letter  as an example; use's the complaint letter wizard to write and download a complaint letter.  Contact third parties , if the seller fails to fix your problem. File a complaint with your local consumer protection offices or the state regulatory agency or licensing board that has jurisdiction over the seller. Notify the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in your area about your problem. The BBB tries to resolve your complaints against companies. Some federal agencies accept complaints about companies.  While these agencies may not resolve your problem, your complaint helps them investigate fraud. If the purchase was made online across international borders, you may also file a complaint with . Seek legal help . If none of these options work, you may seek to resolve your problem through the legal system or through an alternative dispute program, such as arbitration, conciliation, or mediation.

Some problems with sellers are the result of frauds and scams. If you believe that you have been the victim of a fraud, file a complaint  to the correct government agency.  File telemarketing complaints  with the Do Not Call Registry.

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File a Complaint About Online Purchases

If you have problems during an online transaction, try to work them out directly with the seller or website. If that does not work, file a complaint with:

Your  consumer protection agency . The Better Business Bureau (BBB) . The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) . Your state Attorney General . , if your purchase was with a foreign retailer.

If you made your online purchase using your credit card, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company.

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Dispute Resolution Programs

Dispute resolution programs are ways to solve disagreements between buyers and sellers, without going to court. Some companies and industries offer programs to solve disputes. You can also contact your state's attorney general or consumer protection office , law school clinics, or the Better Business Bureau to find a dispute resolution program.

Mediation, arbitration, and conciliation are the three common types of dispute resolution. During mediation, both sides involved in the dispute meet with a neutral third party, a mediator, to create their own agreement jointly. In arbitration, the third party, an arbitrator, decides how to settle the problem. Conciliation is similar to arbitration; however, you and the other party meet with the conciliator separately (not a group meeting). Request a copy of the rules of any program before deciding to participate. You should  ask questions like:

How much does the dispute resolution program cost you? Are the decisions binding? Are you still able to take legal action if you are not satisfied with the decision? How is the mediator, arbitrator, conciliator, chosen for your case?  Back to Top

Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

Mandatory arbitration clauses are phrases written into contracts that state that if you have a dispute with pdniykbt. moncler sale a company, you must resolve it through arbitration. These clauses can prevent you from filing a lawsuit against a company. Arbitration clauses are fairly common in automotive, credit card, and cell phone contracts. But now, they are appearing in website terms and conditions statements, coupons, or corporate social media profiles. While arbitration can be less expensive, it is sometimes seen as unfair to make arbitration a requirement before a negative incident has happened or knowing how serious the problem is. Also, the decisions are binding, so you can’t appeal the decision, even if the company was severely negligent.

Before you sign a contract or even use a website, read the contract or terms of service for mentions of “arbitration”, “binding arbitration” or “resolution programs”; this language is often in the fine print of the contract and can be easily missed. Also, note that some companies may let you opt-out of these clauses, if you do so within 30 days.

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Last Updated: May 15, 2017

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moncler sale uk Insurance Complaint Process Other complaint processes and resources: Complaints about workers’ compensation . Complaints about health insurance mediation . Complaints from health care providers about health claim payments . Complaint data resources and indexes . Tips for filing a claim with your insurance company .

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The Texas Department of Insurance helps consumers resolve complaints against insurance companies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), insurance agents, and adjusters. Each year, we help thousands of Texans get millions of dollars in additional claim payments and refunds.

Steps to Filing an Insurance Complaint

Step 1: Find out if we can help with your complaint . Step 2: Learn what to do before filing a complaint . Step 3: Gather information . Step 4: File your complaint .

Privacy of the information you send us .

What to expect after you file a complaint .

Step 1: Find out if we can help with your complaint.

We can help with complaints against the insurance companies and people we regulate. We can't help with complaints about service providers, including body shops, building contractors, and doctors. If you have a complaint against a service provider, send it to the licensing or enforcement agency that regulates the provider.

We can help with these types of complaints: late or slow payment of claims; policy cancellations and nonrenewals; improper claim denials; health care treatment or service denials; poor customer service; misrepresentation about what a policy covers; discriminatory rate increases; false or misleading advertising; and suspected insurance fraud. We can help you with a health insurance complaint if your health plan ID card has “TDI” or “DOI” on it.

We aren’t able to: find out who is at fault in an accident; settle a dispute with your insurance company when the only evidence is your word; or give legal advice or make medical judgments. If your health plan ID card doesn’t have “TDI” or “DOI” on it, it means your health plan is self-funded. We aren’t able to help with complaints against self-funded health insurance. Learn how to file a complaint with a self-funded health plan .

Call with questions

Call our Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439 (from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time). We can talk through the issue and find out if we can help with your complaint.

Step 2: Learn what to do before filing a complaint with us.

There might be other steps you should take before filing a complaint with us.

Call your insurance company

Most insurance companies have a toll-free customer help line. The phone number is printed on your policy. You can also call  our Consumer Help Line to get the company’s number and address. 

When you call your insurance company:

have your policy number ready. If you’ve already filed a claim, have your claim number too. follow up in writing. Describe your complaint and how you want the company to resolve it. send copies (not originals) of letters, notes, invoices, canceled checks, advertising materials, or other documents that support your complaint. ask the company to send you a written response. Issues with your auto or homeowners insurance

Most auto and homeowners policies have what is called an “appraisal process.” This process is used for resolving disputes about the amount of damages your company will pay. Ask your company if your policy has an appraisal process. You also have the right to appeal the company’s decision or to take the matter to court.

Issues with your health insurance

Most plans have a process for you to appeal if a claim is denied. If you appealed with your health plan and you're still not satisfied, you may be able to have an independent review organization (IRO) review the denial. TDI certifies IROs. If you get an IRO review, the insurance company or HMO must pay for the review and follow the IRO's decision.

Step 3: Gather information. We will need the following information to look into your complaint: your name, address, and daytime phone number; the exact name of the insurance company; the name of the agents or adjusters involved; your policy number; your claim number and the date of your loss; a copy of both sides of your insurance card, if appropriate; a description of your problem; what you believe would be a fair resolution of your complaint; and copies of all supporting documents, including invoices, canceled checks, advertising materials, and any letters between you and the company or agent.

Learn more about the privacy of the information you send to us .

Step 4: File your complaint. There are two ways to file your complaint: Online form File your complaint online using our Online Complaint Portal . PDF form Print the form or save it to your computer to complete it. If you save it to your computer, fill out the version you save. You can sign the form by typing your name in the signature fields. English: Complaint and Authorization Form (PDF)  Authorization Form (PDF) En Español: Formulario de Queja y Autorización (PDF)  Autorización (PDF) Send the paper form back to us one of these ways: Email: ConsumerProtection@tdi. Mail: Texas Department of Insurance, Consumer Protection, MC 111-1A, P.O. Box 149091, Austin, Texas 78714-9091 In person: Texas Department of Insurance, Consumer Protection (111-1A), 333 Guadalupe St., Austin, Texas 78701 Fax: 512-490-1007 Have a question or need help filing a complaint?

Call our Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439 . 

Sending documents to support your case

If you use the online form to file your complaint, you can upload your supporting documents or photos through the Online Complaint Portal .

If you use the paper form, you can send supporting documents with the form.

We can accept PDFs, Word, and Excel documents. We also can accept photos in JPG format.

We can’t accept links to online documents, pictures and videos.

Privacy of the Information You Send Us

To help resolve your complaint, we need to share the information you send us with the person or company named in your complaint. You’ll have to sign a consent form allowing us to share the information. If you don’t sign the consent form, we might not be able to help you.

Also, be aware that some of the information you give us can be given to anyone who requests it under the Texas Public Information Act. We will not give information that is confidential. Medical records, financial information, and email addresses are generally confidential under state and federal law and will not be released.

What to Expect after You File a Complaint

After you file your complaint with us, we’ll contact the company or agent your complaint is against and try to help resolve the dispute.

When we work on your complaint, we will: Send you a letter letting you know we’re working on your complaint. Tell the company about your complaint and ask for a detailed response. Send you a letter with the company's response and an explanation of the outcome. This usually will happen within 60 days after we get your complaint. Decide if the company handled your issue within the terms of the policy or certificate of coverage. Decide if the company, agent, or adjuster broke state insurance laws. If a law was broken, we’ll take enforcement action. Deadlines for payment of a claim:

Texas law requires insurance companies to pay claims within a certain time frame. Most licensed insurance companies must:

Begin investigating your claim within 15 days after getting it. Accept or reject your claim in writing within 15 business days after getting all needed information. This deadline may be extended another 15 days after a declared disaster. If the company needs more time, it must tell you why it needs more time. It will then have up to 45 more days to accept or reject your claim. Tell you in writing why it denied your claim. Pay you within five business days after telling you it will pay your claim.

The laws about paying a claim within a certain time frame don't apply to liability claims against another person’s insurance company. For example, if you’re in a wreck caused by another driver and your claim is against the other driver’s insurance company. These laws also don’t apply to claims involving:

Self-funded health plans (you have a self-funded health plan if your insurance card doesn’t have “TDI” or “DOI” on it). Learn how to file a complaint with a self-funded health plan . Workers’ compensation insurance. Learn how to file a complaint about workers’ compensation . Mortgage guaranty or title insurance. Fidelity, surety, or guaranty bonds. Marine insurance (other than inland marine). If you’re not satisfied with the outcome:

If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you may discuss your concerns with an attorney.

If your complaint involves an auto or homeowners insurance policy, you may ask for alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR uses mediation with a neutral third party to settle disputes outside of court.

If you need help finding an attorney, visit the   State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral and Information Service website or call 1-800-252-9690 .

For more information, contact:

Last updated: 05/31/2017

How to Write a Complaint Letter
When writing a complaint letter, you want to keep it short and to the point to help ensure that your letter will be read in its entirety. If you write a seven page complaint letter, it's highly unlikely that someone will sit down and read all seven pages.

The complaint letter should be addressed to the customer service/consumer affairs department or the head office if there is no customer service department. The address and contact information of the customer service department should be available on the company's products or website.

A hard-copy complaint letter should be written in the business letter format, while an email should be sent in the same format but without the heading (your return address, their address, and the date).

Complaint Letter Writing
In the first paragraph you should identify what the issue is and any relevant information that you believe is important. Be sure to include the following information if it's applicable to the situation: the date/time of the issue, location, name of person on duty, name of product, what the problem was, your account number, model number, price, warranty information and reference number. Be sure to stick with the facts and avoid putting emotions into your letter.

The next paragraph should state what you would like done to resolve the situation. If you received poor service, you could request an apology or a coupon. If a product malfunctioned, you could request that you could exchange the product for a new one or request a refund.

The last paragraph should thank the reader for the time. You can also throw in some compliments about something you liked about their company's product or service.

You should include your telephone number/e-mail address after your printed name so that they can contact you ASAP if necessary.

Be sure to keep a copy of the letter for yourself and include photocopies of any relevant documents and enclose them with your letter.

Also see: Sample Complaint Letter

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