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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > April 2017 > Resolving Disputes Through the Attorney General’s Office

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Resolving Disputes Through the Attorney General’s Office

Have you hired a contractor to perform home repairs that weren’t provided as promised? Maybe you saw an ad for a “buy one, get one free” sale, but the seller doubled the price of the first item overnight. If you have a consumer problem you can’t resolve on your own, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office may be able to help.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section is here to ensure that Ohio consumers are protected in the marketplace, and it takes complaints from consumers about suspected unfair or deceptive sales practices.

The next time you don’t see eye-to-eye with a business, first contact the business directly. Consider writing the business a letter that explains your concern and how the business could satisfactorily resolve the problem. Give the business a deadline. If that fails to resolve the complaint, call the Ohio Attorney General’s Help Center at 800-282-0515, or file a complaint on the Attorney General’s website. We are here to help.

Your complaint may be placed in our informal dispute resolution process. It is through this process where Ohio consumers have the most direct contact with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. In 2016, the section received more than 24,000 complaints, and complaint specialists worked one-on-one with consumers and businesses, often arriving at positive resolutions.

Generally, the most common category of complaint is motorized vehicles, including problems with car titles, used car sales, new car sales, or car repairs. Other complaint categories vary from professional services, such as tax services or landscaping, to shopping, food, or beverages, in addition to complaints about online shopping, department stores, or gift cards.

After receiving a complaint, a complaint specialist will attempt to resolve the dispute by working with the consumer and the business. The specialist will send an initial supplier letter, which gives the supplier 10 days to respond to the complaint. If we don’t receive a response within that time period, a second letter will be sent to the supplier giving the supplier an additional 10 days.

Complaint specialists are trained to identify problems. If there appears to be a consistent pattern of deceptive behavior, the office may investigate further and possibly take legal action against the supplier on behalf of all Ohioans. This legal action can be taken in order to stop current bad conduct, prevent future misconduct, or obtain civil penalties.

One complaint category that demands special attention is identity theft, which requires a different process to resolve complaints.

In 2012, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine established the Identity Theft Unit to help Ohioans rectify the effects of identity theft by working with credit reporting agencies, creditors, collectors, and any other entity that may have information obtained under fraudulent circumstances, and by providing the necessary information to victims of identity theft to remedy the effects themselves.

The Identity Theft Unit currently offers two programs: Traditional Assistance and Self-Help Assistance.
With Traditional Assistance, our office will provide you with a consumer advocate who will reach out to credit agencies, creditors, collectors, or other agencies on your behalf to resolve the effects of the identity theft. The advocate will be responsible for communicating with those entities and for keeping you informed. This option is ideal for individuals who do not feel comfortable attempting to correct the effects of identity theft themselves. 

The Self-Help Assistance option involves our office providing you with a step-by-step guide for you to attempt to rectify the effects of identity theft yourself. The guide will include necessary contact information and form letters to help you dispute information on your credit report, dispute charges, and seek other corrections. This option is ideal for individuals who prefer to move at their own pace and contact credit reporting agencies, creditors, and other organizations themselves.

Since its inception, the Identity Theft Unit has taken more than 5,000 complaints and eliminated approximately $1.8 million in fraudulent charges for victims of identity theft.

To get help resolving identity theft or other consumer complaints, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by visiting or calling 800-282-0515.