How Do I Respond to a Contact from the Consumer Protection Division?
As the consumer protection agency for the State, we receive thousands of complaints and inquiries from consumers each year. This Division does not represent the individual who complained; however, we do review every complaint for potential violations of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act and other consumer protection statutes we enforce.
The Division does represent the “consuming public” and takes enforcement actions to address and prevent actions that harm the public and are in violation of the consumer protection statutes. (See Accomplishments)
Under the Fair Business Practices Act, certain businesses such as health spas, debt adjustment companies and private child support collectors, are required to submit periodic filings.
This Division also administers Georgia’s Lemon Law Program and processes required filings from both motor vehicle dealers and manufacturers.
In the performance of our duties, we issue four main types of correspondence:
Oftentimes the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD) is seeking information from you or your business of a generic nature, or we are seeking industry information. Likewise, you might receive correspondence from an Investigator or an Assistant Attorney General on a specific matter.
Please respond to the person who initiated the contact at the telephone number, address or email provided.
Consumer Complaints Submitted Against a Business
We routinely send copies of complaints to the business involved so that:
- you are aware of the consumer’s problem,
- you are afforded an opportunity to resolve the consumer’s complaint before it escalates, should you decide to resolve it voluntarily; and
- this office can obtain the position of the business in the dispute.
Our letters are on official letterhead and often include a six-digit complaint number in the reference line. Generally, either a copy of the consumer’s complaint or a recounting of the issues in the dispute is provided.
Your prompt response to the allegations within the complaint is appreciated and may help us determine our Division’s next step. The Division could elect to take no follow-up action, or we could refer the consumer to an attorney or magistrate court, forward the complaint to our investigative and/or legal section for review or further action, or disseminate consumer education on the issue, among other options.
We prefer that you respond directly to the consumer who complained and provide a copy of your response to our office including the six-digit complaint number in your response. Please respond within the time frame requested in our letter. Feel free to attach any documents you think are relevant to the complaint(s).
You can provide the response to our office by mail, fax or email:
Georgia Department of Law-Consumer Protection Division
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 356-East Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334-9077
Your response to the individual who complained will be part of the public record maintained by CPD.
It is our hope that you and the individual who complained can work together to resolve the issue(s). If the matter has been resolved with the consumer, please include specific details about the resolution such as date of resolution, action taken to resolve the matter, including the amount of any refund or credit, and the name and contact number for a business representative should we have additional questions.
If the issue(s) are not resolved and CPD has reason to believe your business has violated the Fair Business Practices Act, we are required to provide your business Notice of the problem (See the next section).
Notices Regarding Activity by a Business
Read the Notice or letter you received carefully.
Some Notices are providing to you and/or your business. Often this Division is providing you or your business information about consumer protection laws. It is important to understand the information provided within the Notice since you and your business will be held accountable for that knowledge. Some Notices providing you important information include, but are not limited to:
- Notice regarding the issuance of a State of Emergency and the applicable Price Gouging Laws
- Notice regarding a certain statutory provision about which you might not be familiar
Other Notices require immediate action on your part. If so, the action required will be stated along with the time frame in which you must act. Some Notices that require immediate action include, but are not limited to:
- A Notice from an Investigator or Assistant Attorney General regarding your failure to comply with the terms of a previously obtained settlement or court order. This could involve your failure to make a court-ordered restitution or penalty payment, or the failure to submit required documents or information.
- A Notice regarding your failure to submit timely Lemon Law Payments.
- A Notice of an upcoming deadline, such as the expiration of your Buying Services License.
- A Notice regarding omissions in documents submitted to this office. This could be a Health Spa filing, a Debt Adjustment Filing, or a Lemon Law matter.
If you need additional information after you have read a Notice, please reach out to the person identified in the Notice at the telephone number or email address provided.
Administrative Notices or Legal Documents
- Notice of Contemplated Legal Action (NCLA). This Notice is advising you that the Division is considering taking legal action against you and/or your business for violation(s) of the consumer protection statutes. The Notice further informs you that you have the opportunity to meet with an Assistant Attorney General to discuss the allegations and potentially resolve the issues in lieu of proceeding to litigation.
- Subpoena / Investigative Demand
- A Notice of Hearing in a Lemon Law Arbitration matter.
- Civil Penalty / Cease and Desist Order