(Language interpretation services are available upon request)
If you have a consumer complaint - Contact the business first!
Try talking to a manager. Most problems are resolved at this level. If you are still not satisfied, try contacting the owner of the business or the business’s corporate headquarters. If you are still not satisfied after contacting the business, then you may file a complaint with the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs.
What is the first step to filing a complaint?
The consumer must live in Tennessee OR the business must be located in Tennessee.
Follow these four steps to help prevent delays in processing your complaint:
Will you notify me when you receive my complaint?
After we receive your complaint form, it takes about two weeks to fully set up your file. We will then notify you through the mail or by email when your file has been created. At that time your complaint will be assigned to a Specialist.
How long will it be before I hear an update?
The Specialist who has been assigned to your case will send a copy of your complaint to the business. The business will be given twenty-one (21) days to respond to this office.
What if the business does not respond to my complaint?
If a business does not respond, a second notice is given before placing this business on our Buyer Beware List. Our mediation process relies on the voluntary cooperation of both the consumer as well as the business.
May I call or email for an update on my complaint?
In an effort to keep your complaint file current, please email your questions and additional documentation to the Consumer Protection Specialist assigned to your complaint. Please visit our Consumer Staff webpage to locate your Specialist's email address. You can email them directly by clicking on their name. Please list your name and file number in the subject field of the email.
Due to our call volume, it may take you longer to receive a response by phone than by email as it is sent directly to your Consumer Protection Specialist.
What happens next?
When the business does reply, we will send you a copy of their response.
What if I am not satisfied with the response I received from the business?
You may send a written notification to the specialist handling your case requesting further mediation. The Specialist will determine on a case by case basis what further action, if any, the Division may take to help resolve the dispute.
What if I am still not satisfied?
This Division, by law, cannot force a business to satisfy your complaint. The mediation process that we provide relies on the voluntary cooperation of both the consumer and the business.
Should I contact another Government Agency?
Our Agency cooperates and works closely with other government agencies. If appropriate, we will forward your complaint to another agency for assistance. If your complaint is referred to another agency, we will advise you of the referral. In any event, we will keep your complaint on file so that we can monitor the complaint history.
Formal actions are sometimes brought against an individual or business when the State believes a violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act has occurred. Our office often communicates with the Attorney General’s office to review the information we have regarding an individual or business. These communications with the Attorney General’s office are confidential. If a lawsuit or settlement is filed, that information will be publicly available and we generally attempt to notify consumers that legal action has been taken. When a lawsuit is filed, it typically involves a large number of consumers or particularly bad conduct, and the action is to protect Tennessee businesses from unfair and deceptive acts and to protect the public interest. The goal is to obtain money to repay consumers what they have lost. Even after litigation, however, consumers sometimes may not receive restitution. For example, a company facing a lawsuit may go out of business and the owners may not be found, the entities may file bankruptcy, or they may not be held legally responsible by a court of law.
The Division of Consumer Affairs and the Attorney General’s office cannot give legal advice or represent private individuals. If you feel that you need legal assistance, you should consider contacting a private attorney, your local Legal Aid office, or other organizations that may offer legal assistance. You may visit our website at www.tn.gov/consumer or www.onlinetnjustice.org for helpful links to these referral services and legal assistance organizations.You should act quickly because the law limits the time you have to file a lawsuit.
All Complaints and responses submitted to the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs will become part of our permanent records and are subject to the Public Records Act.