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Consumer issues

Questions

Answers

How do I make a consumer complaint?

If you have a complaint about customer service, you should contact the company first and try to resolve your complaint directly. We suggest you put your complaint in writing (letter, fax or email).

If that doesn’t work or you would just like to enquire about a company, please contact the Better Business Bureau located nearest to the company. You may also file a complaint with the BBB.

As in Australia, every state in the USA has its own consumer affairs office that may be of assistance.

Other websites you may find useful:

How do I identify a scam or fraud?

We receive inquiries every day from people who have been defrauded for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars by Internet contacts they thought were their friends, loved ones or genuine business opportunities.

Internet scams are attempts by con artists to convince you to send them money. These fraudulent schemes can include lotteries, on-line dating services, inheritance notices, work permits/job offers, bank overpayments, or even make it appear that you are helping a friend in trouble.

Do NOT believe that you have won a lottery you never entered or inherited money from someone you've never met or heard of. Do NOT believe any offers (lottery, inheritance, etc.) that require a fee to be paid up front. Do NOT provide personal or financial information to businesses you don't know or haven't verified.

If you suspect a scam or fraud, please contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commision (ACCC).

Please note: If you are an Australian citizen and are the victim of a fraud/crime, please contact the Australian Federal Police even if you believe the offender/group originates in the United States. The AFP will pass on the relevant information to international agencies as required.

If you wish to complain about an internet fraud to the U.S. government, you may contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center or you may wish to register your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (an agency similar to the ACCC).

Con artists can be very creative and very determined, and may spend weeks or months building a relationship. Once they have gained their victim's trust, the scammers create a false situation, often a sad and believable story, and ask for money. Be skeptical. Do not send anyone money unless you are certain that it is a legitimate request - even if you think you know the person well based on your Internet correspondence. You are unlikely to be able to recover money lost in such scams. The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has detailed information on how to identfy and protect yourself against different kinds of scams.

Here are some other websites you may find useful:


Below is information about internet romance scams by individuals purporting to be U.S. military personnel:

 

How do I find information about a particular company or business in the United States?

The U.S. national regulator for listed public companies is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission whose Office of Investor Education and Advocacy provides investor information.

Information about companies or businesses that are not traded on the stock market may often be found by contacting the Corporations Division (the name varies) of the Secretary of State of the U.S. state where the company has been registered.

Businesses that apply to the Better Business Bureau for accreditation agree to meet certains standards of trust.

Other websites you may find useful: