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5 Ways to File a Consumer Complaint Against a Texas Business

Robert Deposada - Texas Business Complaints - May 8, 2024

Complaint against a company? Start by writing them a demand letter using our free tool.

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Contents

    Did a Texas company fail to deliver a product, refuse a refund, or not provide the service they were required to provide to you? If you are considering filing a complaint against the company, we focus this article on five main strategies:  

    • Contact the business directly. 

    • Share your complaint via social media.

    • Leave a review on targeted platforms.

    • File a complaint with the government entities that regulate that industry.

    • File a claim in a Texas Small Claims Court.

    First, contact the business directly. 

    Your first step should always be to try and resolve the problem directly with the business. Directly resolving the complaint with the business will save you time, money, and stress down the road. 

    Informal communications: Start by communicating your concerns through email or phone.  Make sure you keep copies of the emails and texts and also write down dates and times of every phone call with notes for each call (for example, “On April 22, 2024, at 11:00 am, spoke with Patricia Hernandez, a customer service representative, and she said they would get back to me within ten days”).

    Formal communications: If the business ignores your informal requests, it may be time to write a formal letter known as a demand letter, as this way, you can outline your requests in the letter, and notify the business that you will seek further action if the issue is not resolved.  

    Here are some other reasons why you should consider sending a demand letter to the business:

    1. A demand letter signals to the business that you are serious about the issue and willing to take action to resolve it. Many problems get resolved by simply sending a demand letter to a business.

    2. If you end up filing a small claims lawsuit against the business (more on this below), the judge in your case may ask if you tried to resolve the problem out of court. By sending a written demand letter, there is a record of your attempt to resolve the problem out of court that you can include in your evidence. 

    3. A demand letter will also help you organize your facts and evidence and create a timeline of events. This will help you remain consistent and factual as you go through the steps to resolve your complaint. 

    4. If you later decide to sue in small claims court and your claim relates to the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), the DTPA requires you to send written notice and give the business 60 days to respond. A demand letter is an effective way of meeting this requirement. See Texas Business and Commerce Code Section 17.505.

    Did you know we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you create a demand letter to a company? Check out our demand letter tool.

    Here is a video on how our demand letter tool works: 

    Second, use social media to share your complaint. 

    Here are some tips when reaching out to a business on social media: 

    • First, try sending the company a direct message rather than a public post. If you don’t receive a response to your private messages, consider posting publicly. 

    • When communicating the problem, use a less confrontational approach and give the company the opportunity to fix the issue before you “Twitter-shame” them. 

    • Don’t threaten the company in your DM or public post. Engage with a customer service representative and present your case. But always be nice, no matter how angry you might be. Remember, the customer service representative is human and empathy may go a long way in getting your complaint resolved. 

    • Manage your expectations. You can realistically expect a response within a day or so.

    Third, consider leaving a review. 

    If the business continues to ignore your requests even after you have tried communicating with them, consider leaving reviews on all platforms available like the BBB, Yelp, Trustpilot, and Google. 

    Better Business Bureau (BBB)

    The BBB is a non-profit that serves as an intermediary between companies and consumers. 

    While the BBB is not a government agency and can’t force the business to resolve your complaint, businesses take BBB reviews seriously for the following reasons: 

    • If the company is accredited with the BBB and doesn't respond to a BBB complaint, the business’s accreditation may be revoked, and the complaint becomes part of their BBB profile.

    • If the company is not accredited with the BBB, the complaint will become part of their BBB profile.

    • BBB reviews provide other consumers with confidence when engaging with a company. Companies do not want negative BBB complaints.

    To file an online complaint with the BBB, use the BBB’s online complaint form

    If you prefer to use mail, send your complaint to:  

    Better Business Bureau Serving the Heart of Texas
    1805 Rutherford Lane, Suite 100
    Austin, TX 78754

    Learn more here about when filing a complaint with the BBB is worth it. 

    Make sure to be completely truthful in any public statements you make about the company.  If you later decide to file a complaint with a government agency or file a lawsuit, anything you post on social media or on any review websites that is inconsistent with the information you include in your complaint or lawsuit may be used against you. 

    Fourth, file a government complaint against the business.

    Most of the time there is a specific government agency that regulates a business. This means that there are government departments that investigate complaints against businesses when they violate one of the many laws that protect consumers from deceptive business practices. Texas has its own government regulators, and so does the federal government.

    If you are considering reporting a business, make sure they are licensed with the correct Texas licensing board or bureau you are filing a complaint with (in other words don’t file a claim against a mechanic with the Board of Dental Examiners). These agencies investigate claims against a licensee, a person licensed under their licensing requirements.

    Before you file a complaint, have the following ready: 

    • Organize your story.  Write down what happened and separate your feelings from the facts. 

    • Create a timeline.  Present the events in the order in which they happened, using dates whenever possible. 

    • Write down why you are filing a complaint.  On the complaint form, you will be asked to describe the event or business practice that was misleading to you and why. 

    • Collect your evidence.  Prepare copies of contracts, letters, advertisements, sales slips, proof of payment, warranties, papers or other documents that may support your complaint. 

    If you sent the business a demand letter, you should refer back to your demand letter (remember, we have a tool that helps you write a demand letter if you haven’t done this already). 

    What happens after you file a government complaint?

    After you file the complaint, the government agency will likely reach out to you letting you know they have received your complaint. If they are unable to help you with your complaint, they will let you know. They will also let you know the time frame and their process for handling the complaint against the business.

    Note that your issue will NOT be resolved against a business just because you filed a complaint with a Texas (or Federal) government agency.  This is only the first step. In most cases, it will depend on the government department you filed the complaint with and their internal process. 

    Here are some examples of the authority of government agencies:

    • Some government agencies have the authority to investigate consumer complaints and issue fines or take away a license required to do business if they find the business is at fault.

    • In most cases, these government departments can investigate consumer complaints, however, they cannot require the business to issue you a refund.

    • Sometimes, government agencies have the power to help enforce a court order or judgment if you win a lawsuit against the business. If you learn about this information, save it as it may come in handy if you win in court and the business doesn’t pay you.

    What types of complaints against a business can you file?

    Each agency accepts different types of complaints, but here are some of the most common complaints against a business an agency can handle:

    • When a business fails to refund you.

    • When you purchase an item or a service from a business, but the business doesn’t respond to you.

    • When the law requires the business to do something, but the business is not following the law.

    • When you want to report bad business practices. 

    Texas Attorney General

    The main government agency that regulates business is the Texas Attorney General. If you have a problem with a business doing something unfair or against the law, the AG is in charge of making sure businesses plays fair.  You can file a complaint using their online form.

    The Office of the Attorney General enforces the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) which regulates “practices that are false, deceptive, or misleading.” 

    When you file a complaint with the Texas AG, the AG will: 

    1. Review your complaint.

    2. Determine if they will take action on your complaint. 

    The Attorney General will not: 

    1. Represent you in court,

    2. Provide you with legal advice, or 

    3. Bring criminal charges. 

    Learn more about filing a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s Office

    Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR)

    The TDLR issues business licensescertificates, permits and registrations.  Many professionals in Texas are licensed by TDLR (barbers, electricians, service contract providers, and other licensed and regulated programs). 

    The TDLR also investigates consumer complaints that are filed within 2 years from when the problem between a consumer and the business arose. 

    You can file a complaint with the TDLR using their online form

    Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner (OCCC)

    The OCCC regulates businesses that provide loans to Texas residents. 

    The OCCC assists consumers with complaints relating to: 

    • Pawn transactions, 

    • Secondary mortgage and home equity loans, 

    • Motor vehicle sales financing,

    • Property tax loans. 

    • Payday and auto title loans, 

    • Debt management and debt settlement providers

    Learn more on how to file an online complaint with OCCC.

    Here is a summary of the main government agencies that accept consumer complaints: 

    Department 

    Helpful Link 

    Texas Attorney General

    File a Complaint

    Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation

    File a Complaint

    Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner


    File a Complaint

    Call (800) 538-1579 or send an email.

    The following is a list of different industries and where to file your complaint: 

    Industry

    Where to file:

    Accountants & CPAs

    Mail complaint letters to: 

    Marshall Pitman, Chair, Professional Ethics Committee
    Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants
    729 Grapevine Hwy, Suite 221
    Hurst, TX 76054
    Fax: 817-656-5103

    Email: [email protected]

    Architects and Engineers

    File a Complaint with TDLR

    Banks or other Financial Institutions

    File a Complaint with the Texas Department of Banking

    Barber or Cosmetologist

    File a Complaint with TDLR

    Chiropractor

    TX Board of Chiropractic Examiners Complaint Form

    Construction/Contractors

    File a Complaint with TDLR

    Dentist

    Texas State Board of Dental Examiners Complaint Form

    Doctors

    Texas Medical Board Complaint Form

    Health Care Facility

    Complaint hotline: 1-800-458-9858, Option 5

    Email[email protected]

    Fax: 833-709-5735

    Mailing address
    Health and Human Services Commission 
    Complaint and Incident Intake 
    Mail Code E-249 
    P.O. Box 149030 
    Austin, Texas 78714-9030

    Home Inspectors

    Texas Real Estate Commission Complaint Form

    Insurance

    Texas Department of Insurance – Insurance Complaint

    Mechanic

    File a Complaint with the AG

    Moving Companies

    File a Complaint with the Texas DMV

    Learn if a mover is licensed to work in Texas

    Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons

    Texas Real Estate Commission Complaint Form

    Texas Realtors File a Complaint

    Telemarketers

    Public Utility Commission of Texas File a Complaint

    Utility Providers

    Public Utility Commission of Texas File a Complaint

    Fifth, file your case in Small Claims Court. 


    If sending a demand letter, filing a complaint with government entities, using social media, and reviews did not produce the results you were looking for, consider filing a small claims court case. In Texas, small claims lawsuits are filed in Justice of the Peace Courts (referred to as Justice Courts). These small claims courts were designed to handle minor disputes or claims (for up to $20,000) between two parties, without the need for an attorney. These courts are intended to provide an inexpensivesimple, and fast way for individuals or businesses to resolve disputes.

    Learn more about suing in a Texas small claims court.

    Author

    Robert Deposada

    Legal Educator at People Clerk. Robert has a passion for breaking down complicated legal processes in easy-to-read legal guides.

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