The Bureau of Consumer Protection is a branch of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office. There is no charge for any of the services rendered by the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The Bureau handles most types of consumer complaints. A written complaint is required. You may obtain a complaint form by stopping at the Erie regional office located at 1001 State Street, Suite 1009, Erie, Pennsylvania. Complaint forms may also be obtained by calling the Erie office at 814/871-4371 or the Consumer Protection hotline at 800/441-2555. You may also download a complaint form by visiting the Attorney General's website at www.attorneygeneral.gov and clicking on the tab labeled "Complaints" for a drop down menu of available complaint forms.
With respect to individual consumer complaints, the Bureau investigates the complaint and attempts to mediate a settlement between the business and the consumer. The Bureau cannot, however, act as your legal representative if settlement of your complaint cannot be not reached.
Before filing a complaint with the Bureau, it is advisable to attempt to resolve the complaint yourself. As soon as you realize that you have a specific complaint, you should contact the business without delay. If the salesperson cannot assist you with your complaint, ask to speak to a supervisor or someone in authority. Make sure you keep copies of all receipts, contracts, invoices and all correspondence. If you are unable to resolve your complaint with the business, you should contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at once.
In addition to handling consumer complaints, the Bureau takes legal action against companies that have engaged in a pattern of unfair business practices.
The Bureau of Consumer Protection does not give business reports. The Bureau of Consumer Protection is able to disclose only whether they have taken legal action against a company. Business reports must be obtained from a Better Business Bureau. Erie does not have a Better Business Bureau. The nearest Better Business Bureau Office is located in Pittsburgh. The telephone number is 412/456-2700. If you wish to obtain a business report on a business outside Erie, you should call the Better Business Bureau in the city where the business is located.
Consumer Protection kits containing valuable consumer information on a wide range of subjects are available. These kits can be obtained at the Erie office free of charge. You may also obtain Consumer information from the website at www.attorneygeneral.gov.
If you need an attorney and don't have one, the Lawyer Referral and Information Service can help.