Always complain, always explain

Share This Page

Take a look at ftc.gov and what’s the first thing we say in the top right and on pretty much every page on the site? File a consumer complaint. Ever wonder where we get those complaints and how we use them?

Many complaints come to us when consumers click that button to go to the FTC’s Complaint Assistant. (We have a video to make the process crystal-clear.) But our interest in gathering up-to-date complaint data doesn’t end there. We also administer the Consumer Sentinel Network. Forty law enforcement agencies, nonprofits, consumer organizations, business groups, and others contribute the complaints they receive to the Consumer Sentinel database, making it a one-of-a-kind resource.

Although we try to be as inclusive as possible in collecting complaints, who can review them is exclusive – very exclusive. The complaints we receive are nonpublic. The only people who can access them are federal, state, or local law enforcement officers who agree to go through a stringent set of hoops about confidentiality and security. Even groups that contribute complaints to Consumer Sentinel can’t review the database unless they’re bona fide law enforcers and meet the rigorous requirements. (Of course, certain federal laws require us to turn over information in limited legal circumstances, but aside from that, complaints are confidential. And even in those instances, we do our best to protect consumers’ personal information.)

So how do we use complaints?

  1. Law enforcement.  This video offers a few real-world examples of how complaints in Consumer Sentinel have helped consumer protection enforcers crack a case. Consumer complaints are only one factor in law enforcement decisionmaking – in many cases, consumers might not even know they had been defrauded or deceived – but they can offer insights into what’s going on in the marketplace.
  2. Setting priorities.  The FTC uses complaint information to help us track trends in potentially illegal practices and spot areas where more consumer and business education is necessary. Thus, complaints help us allocate taxpayer resources wisely.
  3. Transparency.  Every year we publish a data book jammed-packed with aggregate statistics on the consumer complaints we received in the past year. (The latest edition will be coming out soon.) We pull information from those stats to compile the annual public review of the Top 10 Consumer Complaint Categories.

If your organization compiles consumer complaints, let us know if you’d like to share them with law enforcers.

 

Comments

You guys/gals do a great job. Thanks

How do I file a complaint about the company I work for does not protect consumers privacy. My company is is an auto loan/financial company.

To whom may this we concern
My cell phone was lock 3 day ago .
We contact with At and T . They no open my cell phone for us , they was chit us , we should get our cell phone in the store for exchange sim card .
To day we went the store At and T , they show us come in Company
We came in company , the lady help contact system , they enfore us open my email , , they request us exchange password our yahoo .
If we no exchanged password yahoo they they can not open our phone .
Now we write this letter into FTC to complain , they clock oyr phone over 3 days . why our human right was lost unreasonable .
HELEN LE

Add new comment

Comment Policy

Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system (PDF), and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system (PDF). We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.