Federal Trade Commission complaints deal with business, trade and consumer affairs relating to company practices. Many consumers know that the federal government protects some consumer rights but are unsure what's covered and how the complaint process works and how to report cheating companies and dishonest dealers. The key to understanding the Federal Trade Commission complaint system is that you're not going to report the neighborhood grocery for selling expired milk and come up with a resolution. The complaints filed with the FTC add up to thousands, and even millions, of people treated illegally or irresponsibly by big business. Think wholesale fraud on a large scale. In order to prosecute cheaters and wrongdoers, the FTC needs multiple complaints to show large scale fraud and not simply a result of a single mistake or error. You may not get satisfaction immediately for your reporting, but you may end up as part of class action suit against a mega company doing wrong.
- Identify theft complaints. The Federal Trade Commission complaints deal with the shady international operators that lurk on the internet and sort through your mail to grab your identity. The FTC isn't concerned with your nephew who jacks your credit card, the commission is hot on the trail of the international crime syndicates who steal banking records, intercept credit card transactions via sophisticated computer equipment and rings that sell blocks of Social Security numbers. They're concerned with bad people on a large scale.
- "I paid, you didn't deliver" complaints. The Federal Trade Commission deals with complaints against companies in the United States and those operating in foreign countries. Some fraud campaigns target the elderly and military families and the FTC offers special services for these victims. The Consumer Sentinel Military branch tracks down consumer protection complaints for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their immediate families. The Econsumer.gov branch focuses on international fraud, the taking of money without delivering the goods by companies operating outside the U.S. The FTC works with the Social Security office to track down fraud concerning senior citizens.
- "I paid, got the item and it's junk" complaints. One of the more notorious Federal Trade Commission complaints dealt with people buying outdoor spas and ending up with a plastic wading pool. In order for the FTC to take notice of complaints, they must be certain it's fraud and on a mass scale. Clearly, a child's swimming pool doesn't qualify as an outdoor spa and the companies had to return the customer's money.
- "You think you did the job, but it's not quality work" complaints. National companies advertising work, such as building additions on your home, adding a pool or putting up siding on your house, come under the FTC regulations. Remember, the Federal Trade Commission doesn't handle a single complaint for a bad job, the fraud must be something a company does on a significant number of jobs throughout a state, region or the country.
- "Forget my number "complaints. The FTC also operates the national "Do Not Call Registry." The registry prevents companies from interrupting your favorite television programs or your dinner to offer you a free trip at a resort after you endure a sales pitch for a product. The catch is: You have to sign up prior to the call. The Federal Trade Commission went after a small group of businesses operating in several states, including New York, California and Florida, using automatic telephone dialers. The robot caller simply dialed numbers programmed into the software system. This meant people on the no call registry were called and this violated the law on a national scale. The FTC also investigated the same companies for making multiple calls to the same number, even though the call was not a number on the registry. People were called to sell car warranties, not once or twice, but sometimes six times in one day. The FTC investigated and it resulted in new federal laws against using what are known in the industry as robo-callers or automatic dialers.