If you wish to file a telemarketing or "no-call" complaint, please visit
If you would like assistance in resolving a consumer complaint, please complete our Online Consumer Complaint and Mediation Request Form, or print and mail a General Consumer Mediation Form (on the right sidebar of this page), or call the Consumer Protection Division at (502) 696-5389. Complaints concerning utilities should be submitted to the Office of Rate Intervention's
Utility Complaint Form.
Can I file a claim against a government agency?
If your complaint is with a government agency rather than a business, contact the elected officials with authority over that agency. For example, if it is a federal agency, contact your U.S. Representative or Senator. For a local agency, contact a city or county official.
Can I file a consumer complaint against my landlord?
Our consumer complaint process is dedicated to protecting consumers and identifying violations of the Consumer Protection Act. Since landlord-tenant disputes involve distinct situations and individual lease or property agreements, these are typically private legal matters which are best suited for private legal counsel after a review of the contract or lease agreement. Our office is prohibited from providing legal advice or representation to individuals, and therefore landlord-tenant disputes relating to evictions, return of security deposits, bugs, smells, and mold, are not included within our mediation services. Please review the other sources of help on this page.
What if I have a consumer complaint?
Few things are more frustrating than paying hard-earned money for a product or service only to discover it doesn't measure up to promises or expectations, or that it is just a plain rip-off. When that happens, consumers rightfully expect to have the problem resolved or their money returned.
Even careful buyers get stuck now and then. If it happens to you, you will want to know how to proceed to get the best results.
First, contact the business.
Take your problem to the salesperson, manager or the company's customer service representative. Most problems are resolved at this level. If you are still not satisfied, contact the owner or the company's headquarters.
If the business will not resolve a problem directly, consumers can file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau, or a small claims court. The complaint should explain in detail, with documentation, what the problem is, who it is with, what you have done and what you want. In particular, it should:
Identify the Business – Include the name and current address of the business. An agency will not be able to help very much without the firm's current address.
Describe the Problem – Describe as completely as you can the problem with the product or service you have purchased. Were you told something that was untrue? Describe what you were told and how it was untrue. Is it defective? Explain what is wrong. Did the business refuse to honor a warranty? Explain what needs repair and include a photocopy of the warranty.
Explain What You Want – Explain what you want the business to do: how much money should be refunded or exactly how you want a product fixed or a service performed.
Include Photocopies – Always include photocopies of documents relevant to your complaint receipts, warranties, both sides of canceled checks, contracts, etc. Do not send originals. Only send copies, except upon request of the agency to which you are making your complaint.
Arbitration or mediation?
In arbitration, a neutral party hears both sides of a complaint and makes a decision that will be binding on the parties, depending on the terms of the arbitration agreement. Usually, both sides formally agree to submit the dispute to an arbitrator. In mediation, a neutral party tries to get both sides to agree on a resolution of the complaint. Mediation can begin without any formal agreement between the parties.
Both the Better Business Bureau and the Office of the Attorney General offer mediation services. In some cases, the bureau provides arbitration services.
How do I file a consumer complaint with the Office of the Attorney General?
The office has consumer complaint forms to ensure adequate information is contained in your complaint. To request mediation services from our office, you may complete the online mediation request form, download a form online and mail it to our office, or call the Consumer Protection Division at (502) 696-5389 or 888-432-9257 (select option #3.) Please note that all complaints must be received in writing in order to be mediated. You can also simply write to us so long as adequate information is contained in the letter and supporting documents are attached. Write to:
Office of Consumer Protection
1024 Capital Center Drive, Suite 200
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
If you file a complaint with our office, please understand the following:
We may refer you to another agency.
Often a state, federal or local agency will have more expertise than our office to handle a particular consumer problem. In such a case, we refer the complaint to the agency best able to help.
We cannot act as your private attorney.
State law prohibits our office from giving individual citizens legal advice or opinions or acting as their private attorney. 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 only file suit to protect the public interest.
We cannot file a lawsuit whose only purpose is to recover money or property for you. Our office does file suits against companies that violate the laws protecting consumers. However, we file these lawsuits primarily 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
- Number of consumers involved
- 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
Lawsuits may not recover money for consumers.
Even if we sue a business against which you have made a complaint, we may not be able to recover any money for you.
For example, 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.
In these, and other less frequent examples, we may file suit to stop illegal practices even though we know we will be unable to recover consumers' money.
How our mediation process works:
If we decide your complaint is appropriate for mediation, we will ask the business to respond to your allegations. We generally give the business 30 days to respond. If they do not respond or refuse to cooperate, there is generally nothing the Office can do except track this information for reporting and monitoring purposes.
If at any time we need more information, we will contact you. If you need to provide us additional information, please do so in writing. We do not have the staff to handle numerous telephone inquiries.
If your complaint is not appropriate for mediation, or if we refer your complaint to another agency, we will advise you of the decision. In any event, we will keep your complaint on file so that we can monitor illegal practices in the marketplace.
What if I encounter special problems?
Credit card purchases:
In a credit card purchase dispute, the card issuer may credit your account and charge the item back to the business - if you follow certain steps.
- Write to your credit card issuer at the address for errors or inquiries found on your billing statement no later than 60 days after the billing statement was sent.
- Include vital information such as your name and account number, the date and amount of the disputed transaction and the business name and address.
- Describe the dispute. Explain in detail actions you have taken in good faith to resolve the complaint, and why you feel the business should not be paid.
- Send photocopies of any papers or other documents you believe relate to the transaction. Do not send originals!
Company has moved or is out of business:
Perhaps the most frustrating consumer complaint is one against a company that is out of business or that has moved without leaving a forwarding address. It is almost always impossible to resolve. Even agencies that assist consumers may not have the resources to find these companies.
In some rare instances, consumers may recover some of their money if the company has filed bankruptcy. To have any chance, you must file a "proof of claim." Obtain a claim form from the clerk of the Federal District Court in which the business has filed for bankruptcy, fill it out, then return it to the clerk. Bankruptcy cases can be very complex, so you may want to hire an attorney to help you - especially if your claim is large.
Where else can I get assistance?
Below is a description of the types of places you might find additional assistance. For more detailed information on who and how to contact other sources of assistance, check out our consumer resources page.
If you need an attorney
If you cannot resolve your complaint, or it involves a large amount of money, you may want to hire a lawyer.
Private Attorneys – The Kentucky Bar Association and some county bar associations operate lawyer referral programs. Often there is only a small fee for the initial consultation.
If you need an attorney, the following bar associations can refer you to an attorney in your area.
- Kentucky Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service 502-564-3795 www.kybar.org
- Fayette County Bar Association Central Kentucky Lawyer Referral Service 859-225-8644 www.fcba.com
- Louisville Bar Association Kentucky Lawyer Referral Service 502-583-1801 www.loubar.org
- Northern Kentucky Bar Association Northern Kentucky Lawyer Referral Service 859-781-1300 www.nkybar.com
Legal Aid or Legal Services – If you can't afford a lawyer, you may be eligible for federally-funded legal assistance. Eligibility
for services by a Legal Aid attorney typically depends on your income and
assets and the type of problem you have. When you call, you will need to
provide information about your household income and the type of problem you
need help with. While Legal Aid typically represents low-income households, they
may provide legal advice in some situations. Additionally, some grants allow
them to represent clients outside of those financial limitations (examples
include housing counseling services, emergency domestic/interpersonal violence
hearings, and some services for clients age 60 and over). Be sure to search for the Legal Aid
office in the region closest to you.
Other sources of help
There are a variety of public and private sources that may be able to help with your complaint. Here is a description of the types of help that may be available.
Better Business Bureau – Most cities have a Better Business Bureau offering complaint mediation services. If the business is an Accredited Business, the BBB may also provide arbitration services. Some businesses pledge to arbitrate all consumer complaints filed with the BBB that are not resolved by mediation. Visit BBB.org for more information or to file a complaint.
Small Claims Court –You may wish to file a
claim in Small Claims Division of District Court, which settles disputes
involving money or personal property valued at $2,500 or less. All counties have special courts to handle small claims. The filing fees are usually much less than those charged in the county or district courts and the proceedings are less formal, with citizens often representing themselves. In these courts you can present your side to the judge. Present your case with the same information you would include in a complaint, bringing any documents or witnesses that are relevant. Learn more by reviewing the
Citizen’s Guide to Small Claims Court in Kentucky: P6SmallClaimsHandbookweb.pdf
Private Mediation Services – Some cities have private mediation or alternative dispute resolution centers. They are usually non-profit and charge either no fee or a small fee.
Consumer Reporters – Some television stations, radio stations and newspapers have consumer reporters that help people with complaints.
Trade Associations – Many industries have trade associations that perform a variety of functions, often including resolution of complaints against their members.
Federal Trade Commission – The FTC enforces fair trade laws and may help consumers resolve complaints. The commission has a regional office in Chicago.
Other State Attorneys General – If your complaint is against a company in another state, you may be able to get help from that state's attorney general.
Elected Representatives – Members of Congress, state legislators, city council members, county commissioners and other elected officials may help constituents with consumer complaints, These are also the people to contact if you believe there should be a law to protect consumers from a particular problem.