The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section has moved Missouri toward a more fair, open, and honest marketplace since the adoption of Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act more than 45 years ago. The section seeks to ensure that everyone – businesses and consumers alike – has the opportunity to operate in a marketplace that is free of fraud, deception, misrepresentations, false promises, unfair practices, and unfair competition. The section also serves a vital role in enforcing Missouri’s antitrust, securities, telemarketing, nonprofit, charitable trust, and foundation laws.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 114,417 consumer complaints in 2022. The Consumer Complaint Unit received 75,315 complaints and inquiries and the No-Call Unit received 39,102 complaints. In addition, advocates with the Complaint Unit obtained $15,542,322 in restitution for consumers through their mediation process. If you would like to file a complaint regarding fraud or deception, click or call 800-392-8222.
In addition to investigating unfair and deceptive business practices, the Attorney General has authority to initiate both civil and criminal prosecutions against wrongdoers. Our investigators receive and review complaints, assist in issuing pre-litigation subpoenas, assist in search warrant applications, and otherwise prepare for trials.
One area that the section focuses on is enforcing the Do-Not-Call and telemarketing laws. The Do-Not-Call list prevents telephone solicitations from nearly 200 telemarketers to over 4 million numbers. Enforcement actions continue against telemarketers who do not abide by the law though our No-Call unit. If you would like to sign up to be on the Do-Not-Call list click or call 866-662-2551. If you are already on the list and would like to file a complaint against unwanted telemarketing calls, click or call 866-BUZZ OFF (866-289-9633).
Frequently Asked Questions
What kinds of complaints does the Consumer Protection Section handle?
Missouri’s consumer protection statutes prohibit the act, use or employment by any person of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice or the concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise (including any object, ware, good, commodity, intangible, real estate, or service) or the solicitation of any funds for any charitable purpose. The Division also serves a vital role in enforcing Missouri’s antitrust, securities, telemarketing, nonprofit, and charitable trust laws.
How do I file a complaint with the Attorney General's office?
File a consumer complaint online
The Consumer Complaint Form is available for online submission. Simply complete the online form and click on the button titled “Submit Online Complaint Form.”
File a consumer complaint by mail
The Consumer Complaint Form is available in PDF or html format. If possible, please complete the PDF form by computer. If you don’t fill it out by computer, type or hand-print clearly in dark ink. Incomplete or unclear forms will be returned. Be sure to enclose copies of important documents concerning your transaction such as contracts, invoices, warranties, receipts, canceled checks, letters, and other communications. Do not send originals.
File a complaint in person at one of these locations
Is there a fee for filing a complaint?
What kind of information should I include with my complaint form if I'm sending it via regular mail?
Be sure to include copies of important documents concerning your transaction such as contracts, invoices, warranties, brochures, receipts, canceled checks, letters, and other communications. Do not send originals.
How long will it take to process my complaint?
Consumers can expect a response within approximately 30 days. The advocate who reviews the complaint will contact the company and ask for a response. The company has approximately 14 days to respond. Once the response is received, the advocate will determine the next step in the mediation process. The mediation process can take several months. Consumers will be notified of any further action taken by the Division or if their complaint is referred for formal investigation. Please keep in mind you always have the right to seek legal advice and to pursue your complaint through a private attorney or legal aid.
After filing my complaint, how can I contact your office to get an update?
You may obtain a status update on your complaint by calling or emailing the advocate assigned to the file or by calling our Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222.
Will the company or person about whom I'm complaining get a copy of my complaint?
Yes. Part of the process of mediating complaints is to ask the business that is the subject of complaint for their side of the story. We do that by sending a copy of your complaint and asking the company or individual to respond.
As a business owner, what should I do when I receive a consumer complaint from the Attorney General's Office?
You should respond to the complaint within the time given in the letter from the Attorney General’s Office. Include any documentation relating to the transaction, such as contracts, invoices, warranties, brochures and receipts. Do not send originals. If you need an extension of time, you need to notify the advocate as soon as possible.
How does the mediation process work?
The Attorney General’s Office returns millions of dollars each year to consumers without stepping foot in a courtroom through a process of informal mediation. Through mediating the dispute between the consumer and the company or individual, we often are able to resolve the problem and obtain refunds and restitution without the need for legal action. Not all complaints fall within the scope of the Attorney General’s Office and therefore you may be referred to another source such as a government entity or private attorney so they may pursue if applicable.
When I call the Attorney General's Office to ask about a company, what information will I receive?
The Attorney General’s Office will provide over the phone the number of complaints it has received against a particular company or individual.
When I file my complaint, may I still hire a private lawyer to pursue my case?
Yes. Because the Attorney General’s Office brings enforcement actions on behalf of the state, not individual consumers, it cannot provide legal advice to you. If you want to preserve any private legal rights you might have, you may wish to contact a private attorney.
Will I have to testify in court?
If the Attorney General’s Office files a civil lawsuit or criminal charges against a company or individual based in part on your complaint, you may have to testify in court about the transaction.