As with all agencies, our office must set priorities. To determine the extent to which we can address the issues raised in your complaint, we look at four criteria.
This checklist also may help you, as a consumer, decide in advance how best to pursue your claim:
- Does your complaint involve a “consumer transaction?”
With few exceptions, we can only address complaints involving a purchase, lease or rental entered into for personal, family or household purposes. Transactions for investment, and most business to business transactions do not meet fall within the statutory definition of "consumer transaction."
- Does it affect the public good?
This office represents the State of Georgia as a whole. We do not represent an individual. By law, we are unable to address an individual situation that does not affect parties beyond the two directly involved. Often we refer people to magistrate court or recommend they talk to an attorney.
- Is there is an ongoing pattern of the alleged improper behavior?
We need evidence that the company has continued to engage in unfair or deceptive acts affecting the public at large. Otherwise we might take no action other than monitoring the company's future activities.
- Does another state or federal agency handle this type of complaint?
If another state or federal agency has specific jurisdiction to handle your allegations, we must refer your complaint to that agency. Examples of issues that we cannot handle are insurance, banking, professional licensing, the justice system, various environmental issues, health program administration and social services (to name just a few).
The Georgia Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division cannot:
- Give legal advice or act as your attorney.
- Provide information about the reputation of a particular business or individual, although this may be available from the Better Business Bureau.
- Handle a complaint filed by one business against another, except in very limited circumstances.
- Handle a complaint where another state, federal or local government agency has primary authority.