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4 Ways to File a Complaint Against a Company

Camila Lopez - How to File a Complaint Against a Company - June 17, 2024

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    Do you have a complaint against a company that you have not been able to resolve? In this article, we go over 4 ways you can file a complaint against a company. These four options can help you after you have already tried to communicate directly with the company, but they have not responded to your complaint or handled your complaint effectively. 

    Option 1: Send a Demand Letter

    A demand letter is a useful tool when dealing with a complaint against a company. A demand letter is a letter you can send to the business outlining a set of requests you would like the business to fulfill. 

    Here are some reasons to consider sending a demand letter to a company:

    • A demand letter signals to the company that you are serious about the complaint and willing to take action to resolve the problem. Demand letters are an effective means of getting a company’s attention after your previous efforts to communicate your complaint directly with the company have failed. 

    • The judge in your case may ask you at your small claims hearing if you sent the company a demand letter. By sending a written demand letter, there is a record of your attempt to settle that you can demonstrate to the judge. 

    • The most important reason to send a demand letter is that it may lead to a resolution of your complaint without you having to take further action.

    Learn more in our guide on how to write a demand letter. 

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

    Option 2: Sue in Small Claims Court 

    Small claims courts handle a variety of issues related to complaints against companies. Small Claims Court is often called the “People’s Court” because of its informal procedures, user-friendly processes, and affordable nature. 

    Here are some common reasons to file a small claims lawsuit against a company: 

    • A company won’t give you a refund. 

    • A company fails to provide products and services you paid for. 

    • A company provides faulty products or unsatisfactory services. 

    • A company engaged in deceptive practices or false advertising. 

    How much can you sue a company for in small claims court? 

    • Each state has a different small claims limit. Generally, this limit varies between $3,000 - $25,000. 

    • For example, in California small claims court, you can sue for $12,500, while in New York, the limit varies from county to county and can be between $3,000- $10,000.

    • In general, if a company owes you more than the amount you can sue for, you can still sue for the maximum amount allowed, but you will need to waive any additional amount over the small claims limit.

    How much does it cost to take a company to small claims court? 

    • The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit against a company varies from state to state but generally is between $15- $75. If you cannot afford to pay court fees, the small claims court you are trying to file in may offer fee waivers.

    • You may also need to pay to notify the company that you have filed a small claims lawsuit against them. This is called serving or service of process, and the amount you will need to pay to serve the company ranges from $0- $125. 

    • The rules around serving are very specific in each state, so make sure to review them as you go through the small claims process. 

    Learn more in our 50-State Guide to Small Claims. 

    Option 3: File a Government Complaint

    Did you know that there is almost always a government entity tasked with regulating a specific industry? This means that there are government departments that investigate consumer complaints against companies when they do something wrong (there are also federal regulators). 

    Below, we have linked several of our articles that go over how to file a complaint against a company in each of the following industries: 

    Airlines

    Banks 

    Car Dealership

    Contractors

    Dog Breeders

    Employers 

    Home Warranty

    Insurance 

    Landlords and Apartment Complexes

    Mechanics 

    Moving Company

    We also have created state-specific guides on how to file a complaint against a company for Arizona, California, New York, and Texas.

    If a state does not have a government entity that regulates an industry, you can file a complaint against the company with the state attorney general. State attorney generals act as the primary enforcers of consumer protection laws in their states and are a good resource for consumers dealing with company complaints. The process of filing a complaint with the attorney general can be as easy as completing a complaint form online or calling a complaint hotline. Learn more in our 50-State Guide to Attorney General Complaints. 

    Option 4: File a Better Business Bureau (BBB) Complaint

    The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serves as an intermediary between companies and consumers and accepts complaints against a company. The goal of the BBB is to promote transparency between companies and consumers by providing information and resources to consumers to help them make informed decisions. 

    Although the BBB does not have the authority to force a company to resolve consumer complaints, companies respond to BBB complaints for the following reasons: 

    • If accredited with the BBB and they don’t respond, their accreditation may be revoked, and the complaint becomes part of their profile. 

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

    • Negative BBB reviews can hurt a company’s reputation. 

    Learn more in our step-by-step guide to filing a complaint against a company with the BBB.

    Author

    Camila Lopez

    Legal Educator @ People Clerk. Camila holds a law degree and is a certified mediator. Her passion is breaking down complicated legal processes so that people without an attorney can get justice.

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