Over this past Thanksgiving, a relative of mine was telling me about a problem he was having with a newer water heater he had installed. It hadn't been working correctly since it was put in.
He wasn't able to resolve the issue with the contractor he'd hired to install the water heater or the company who manufactured it, so he wrote a letter to the state's Attorney General.
“You did what?” I said, a bit surprised.
“I wrote the Attorney General. Yeah. I've done it before and got my issue resolved.”
This was news to me. Writing your Attorney General to help with a consumer complaint?
Why write your Attorney General?
In my relatives case – he had exhausted all efforts to resolve the malfunctioning water heater. His installer wasn't able to assist – nor was the manufacturer being too helpful.
In most states, the government officials are supposed to be acting on behalf of their constituents. While we could make the case that many of the elect are not doing this – it is ultimately, the responsibility of each office holder.
This is also the case of Attorney Generals – who have been elected by the populace. They advise the government on legal issues and in some states “have executive responsibility for law enforcement, public prosecutions or even ministerial responsibility for legal affairs generally.”
They also can handle consumer complaints. Google “how to file complaint with state attorney general” and you will come up with a list of state Attorney General web pages with specific information on how the general public can file a grievance with a company.
Most advise folks to make sure they've tried all avenues (like my relative had) before contacting them.
While I can only speak from what my relative told me, there are some good reasons to connect with your Attorney General:
- They carry a lot of authority
- They may be able to resolve the issue with the product or service provider faster than you could
- If you have a problem with a product/service – there may be others who have the same issue. This could help the Attorney General bring a lawsuit against the company if need be (which could ultimately protect even more customers from being duped).
My relative got a response from the Attorney General AND the manufacturer in a very timely manner. The manufacturer was served notice the AG had an eye on them – so they were quick to help resolve the matter.
How have you handled a complaint you couldn't get resolved?
Have you ever contacted your state Attorney General OR gone through other free means to help resolve a complaint you couldn't get a resolution on? I'd love to hear your story.