Reporting a consumer problem

The Attorney General is a resource for consumers who want the State’s Chief Attorney to know about your problem. It’s a good place to complain, but don’t expect big results.

I’ve heard from many consumers who are surprised to get a letter from the AG saying they are not your personal attorney, and you may need to seek legal advice to get the problem resolved.

In their defense, it’s a time-consuming process to vet consumer problems all day. In Missouri, 100,000 complaints are received. The AG has far more obligations than solving individuals problems. Typically, they send a letter on your behalf to the business in question but it doesn’t mean anything will be accomplished. However, it is the starting point for AG investigations so don’t under-estimate the importance of letting the chief attorney know about your problem. Just don’t expect personal results. All investigators (including myself) look at these complaints and look for patterns.

In Missouri, complaints are searchable on the AG’s website. It’s a great resource to check when hiring a company and when you have a problem. 

It’s called KnowMo. You can’t get a whole lot of information other than when the complaint was filed, the number of complaints, and company address.

Missouri Attorney General
File a complaint with the MO AG

Kansas Attorney General
File a complaint with the Kansas AG

BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU - Your local advocate
I’ve heard mixed results about the Better Business Bureau. They send letters and allow the company a chance to respond, and then you can rebut their response and so on. If there is a pattern of problems with a member, the organization typically revokes a company’s membership.

I think the results all depend on the company and the BBB itself. Some are better equipped than others with staffing to handle complaints. I’ve had very positive personal experiences using the BBB to resolve complaints that I’ve experienced as well as close family and friends. For me, it’s always resulted in a favorable outcome for the consumer.

I think there is an art to complaining. [See related article] In the description of the problem, don’t rant and rave. Detach yourself from the emotion of the problem and simply state the facts. Make your description short and easy to follow. Also, clearly state how you want it resolved and be reasonable. Compromise is the key to resolving problems whether they are consumer in nature or not.

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