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Consumer Complaint Laws

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What is a Consumer Complaint?

A consumer complaint is a statement sent by a customer who is expressing their dissatisfaction regarding the quality of goods or services that they purchased.  Usually, a consumer complaint is lodged against the business or company that provided the product or services.  In some cases, the complaint may be lodged against the government, or against a third-party entity such as the Better Business Bureau.

Consumer complaints can involve many different legal factors, such as warranties, fraud, products liability, safety and health codes, contract violations, and debt/tax laws.  These can often affect large sectors of the population, resulting in a class action lawsuit against the company or entity. 

How Do I File a Consumer Complaint?

In most cases, you may be able to file your consumer complaint directly with the company.  There may be instructions on the packaging of your product regarding how to file a complaint.  You may need to send proof of purchase and other information.  In some cases, complaints can be filed on the company’s website, which may increase the public’s awareness of your legal issue.

If you have been badly injured by the product, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover your damages.  This may require the involvement of an attorney.  For instance, you may be able to obtain a damages award if the injury caused you to lose work wages, or caused you a reduction in future earning capacity.

If the complaint is being filed against the government, you may need to file with a government administrative or regulatory agency.  This may be the case if the complaint involves a broad, overarching legal policy or regulation.  A common example of this is where government standards are too low regarding food and safety laws for restaurants in a given area.

What Types of Remedies Might Be Available in a Consumer Complaint?

For some consumer complaints, a damages award may be appropriate, especially where the negligence of the company has caused injuries to the plaintiff.  In many cases, a refund or exchange for the product may also be included in the damages award. 

For more widespread violations, an injunction may be necessary to help correct the wrongdoings of the liable party.  An injunction is a court order that may require the defendant to take action, such as changing their company policies, or adjusting their conduct to conform with legal regulations. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Consumer Complaint?

In most cases, the assistance of a lawyer will be needed when filing a consumer complaint.  An experienced lawyer in your area can help you obtain the appropriate remedy for your injuries or economic losses.  Your attorney can assist you with the various documents involved, and can represent you during court hearings if a lawsuit needs to be filed. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 05-04-2015 02:03 PM PDT

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