The Consumer Complaint Process

If you have a dispute with a business, you can file a consumer complaint with the Office of the Attorney General. Your information will be reviewed by a compliance specialist. This office does not take action on every complaint it receives.

Consumer complaints submitted to this office may form the basis of an investigation or legal action. Investigations are confidential; we cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation of any company or individual.

Regulatory Agencies

We may refer you to another agency. Often a state, federal or local agency will have more expertise or authority than our office to handle a particular consumer problem. In such a case, we refer the complaint to the agency best able to help.

If your complaint is against a regulated business or licensed professional, you should contact the appropriate regulatory agency. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is the state's umbrella occupational regulatory agency. For a wealth of information about regulated businesses and professions in Texas, and how to file complaints, visit the TDLR Website

Please understand that we cannot act as your attorney. State law prohibits our office from giving individual citizens legal advice or opinions or providing legal representation. If you feel that you need legal advice, you will have to turn to another source such as a private attorney, legal aid society or other organization.

We can file suit only to protect the public interest. State law prohibits our office from filing a lawsuit whose only purpose is to recover money or property for a single person. In those instances, it is appropriate for the consumer to seek legal advice from a private attorney, legal aid society or other organization.

Our office does file suit against companies that violate the laws protecting consumers. However, we file these lawsuits to protect the public interest, not private interests. Whether a lawsuit is in the public interest depends on several factors:

  • Severity of the case in terms of economic loss or the number and gravity of law violations 
  • Possibility of halting a fraudulent scheme quickly 
  • Extent to which consumers will benefit from public enforcement 
  • Costs of enforcement as compared to the benefits to the public 
  • Likelihood of collecting penalties and restitution from the business

If the Attorney General Sues a Company

Even if we sue a business against which you have made a complaint, we may not be able to recover any money for you. We make every effort to recover actual damages, in some cases it is simply not possible. The company's practices may have affected so many people that it is impossible to prove each person's damages. A company facing a lawsuit may go out of business and the owners may not be found, or they may not be held legally responsible. Finally, a company may have used or hidden its money and other assets, leaving nothing with which to repay consumers.

That said, we may file suit to stop illegal practices even though we know we will be unable to recover consumers' money. Generally speaking, if a legal action has been filed against a company from which you hope to receive any restitution that should become available, you should file a complaint with us if you have not already done so. If at any time we need more information, we will contact you. If you have already filed a complaint with us and you need to provide additional information, please do so in writing.

Regardless of the outcome of your particular complaint, we will keep it on file so that we can monitor illegal practices in the marketplace.

 

Revised: May 06 2010