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Refunds, Replacements & Repairs
When you've been wronged by a product seller, your best bet is to arm yourself with a dose of good common sense and a firm grasp of the law. The information below can be used as a powerful negotiating tool, especially when it's clear the seller would not budge otherwise. 

Resolving Disputes For Goods & Services The Right To Keep, Cancel Or Return
Retail Store Policies Warranties & Rebates
False Advertising Reaching Company Big Shots







 

 



 

 

 




 

 



 

 

 




















Resolving Disputes

The Well-Crafted Complaint Gets Results-- and Freebies (Google Articles)
Angry about poor service or a shabby product? Take your case straight to the top, be reasonable and firm, and enjoy the occasional peace offering. 

Consumer Complaints Against Businesses (Ohio)

Where To File A Complaint (Ohio)
Choose issue in drop box and they'll direct you to the right agency. Pertains to issues relating to banking, charities, credit cards, incorporations, insurance, landlord tenant and utilities.

Search Complaints Against Companies (Ohio Attorney General)

Search For Unfair, Deceptive or Unconscionable Acts Done by Ohio Businesses, Stores, Landlords, Etc (Attorney General)
Ignore all fields but their subject box, and choose a subject your issue relates to. Then click "SUBMIT" to Search records for similar violations done by that business or by any other business. And if the violation is something that has been previously addressed in an administrative rule or by any Ohio court, you may be able to recover three times the amount of actual damages or $200, whichever is greater. Topics include everything from Aeronautics to False Advertising to Food to Travel! Too Many Hits? Use your back button and narrow your results by also selecting a topic from the CATEGORY box.

The Quickest Way To Get A Human When On A Voice Interactive Directory
Companies listed alphabetically.

Better Business Bureaus (Links Throughout The U.S.)
Often BBB's will serve as mediators between you and the seller.

How To Right A Wrong (FTC)
Lists consumer laws the seller may have violated, gives you tips on how to resolve your complaint and even has a sample complaint letter. Also points you to other places where you can go for help. 

Solving Consumer Problems (FTC)
Similar to How To Right A Wrong.

Mediation & Arbitration (FTC Brochure)

Government Complaint Center
Find the federal agency that deals with your problem and fill out an online complaint form to get them to investigate.  Subjects regulated include, airlines, banks, food, medicine, car matters,  cell phones, health clubs and much much more.

Find Your Local Newspaper, Magazine, Radio & TV Stations
Give them a little bad press and you're bargaining power increases tremendously. Select Ohio, and then click on your county or city for the proper media to report to. (DC Not Included).

Find The AARP In Ohio
The AARP offers legal advocacy for seniors and may also have state specific consumer brochures which are available to everyone.

False Advertising/Negotiating For A Refund (Consumer-SOS)
Getting a refund when the ad you relied on was false or misleading.

National Help Orgs For A Variety Of Consumer Problems
The Elderly, Environment, Families, Fraud, Health & Safety, Insurance The Handicapped, Medical Problems, Telemarketing and more.

National And Federal Consumer Rights Organizations
Links with descriptions.

For More, See Consumer-SOS/Lawyers, Courts & Self Help

For Disputes With Professionals, See 
Consumer-SOS/Occupational Licensing Boards


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Retail Store Policies

Refunds (Ohio)
Are stores required to post their refund policies?

Gift Card Act (Ohio)
Makes it illegal for most gift cards to expire in less than two years from their issue date.
Gift cards with no expiration dates are valid until redeemed or replaced.  

Retail Installment Sales/Layaway Act (Ohio)
Requires merchants to notify consumers who are about to default on their layaway agreements.
Grants consumers the right to cancel their layaway agreements and be refunded at any time.

Warranties & Rebates

Defective Assistive Devices Act (Ohio)
Requires one-year warranties covering the full cost of repair or replacement for products designed for disabled consumers.  Applies to products such as hearing aids, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, talking software, etc.

Retail Installment Sales/Layaway Act (Ohio)
Requires merchants to notify consumers who are about to default on their layaway agreements.
Grants consumers the right to cancel their layaway agreements and be refunded at any time.

See Resolving Disputes

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False Advertising

Where To File A Complaint (Ohio)
Choose issue in drop box and they'll direct you to the right agency. Pertains to issues relating to banking, charities, credit cards, incorporations, insurance, landlord tenant and utilities.

Consumer Sales Practices Act (Ohio)

  • Protects consumers from unfair, deceptive or unconscionable acts or practices in connection
     with the purchase or solicitation for a purchase that would be used for the home or personal
     use.
  • Makes it illegal for sellers to misrepresent the nature of their business, products or services,
     the price of their goods or the terms of a transaction.
  • Prohibits sellers from taking advantage of a consumerís illiteracy, mental or physical disability, or
    inability to understand the terms of a sale.
  • Requires sellers to honor guarantees, warranties and rain checks.
  • Protects consumers from deceptive advertising and other types of fraud.

Consumer Sales Practices Act-Substantive Rules (Ohio)
OAC ß 109:4-3-01 Addresses these consumer related issues.

Search For Unfair, Deceptive or Unconscionable Acts Done by Ohio Businesses, Stores, Landlords, Etc (Attorney General)
Ignore all fields but their subject box, and choose a subject your issue relates to. Then click "SUBMIT" to Search records for similar violations done by that business or by any other business. And if the violation is something that has been previously addressed in an administrative rule or by any Ohio court, you may be able to recover three times the amount of actual damages or $200, whichever is greater. Topics include everything from Aeronautics to False Advertising to Food to Travel! Too Many Hits? Use your back button and narrow your results by also selecting a topic from the CATEGORY box.

Advertising And Your Rights
Includes: False Advertising, Problems with Bait and Switch, Price Tags and Window Signs. 

Stop Companies & Advertisers from Displaying False Ads (Consumer-SOS)

False Advertising/Negotiating For A Refund
(Consumer-SOS)
Getting a refund when the ad you relied on was false or misleading.

False Advertising
(Nolo.com)
Learn what rules must be followed and where to go get help if they are broken.

The Applicability Of FTC Law To Internet Advertising

Deceptive Advertisements (Federal Trade Commission)
Rules & Regulations against such.

See Resolving Disputes

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Warranties & Rebates

Defective Assistive Devices Act (Ohio)
Requires one-year warranties covering the full cost of repair or replacement for products designed for disabled consumers.  Applies to products such as hearing aids, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, talking software, etc.

Retail Installment Sales/Layaway Act (Ohio)
Requires merchants to notify consumers who are about to default on their layaway agreements.
Grants consumers the right to cancel their layaway agreements and be refunded at any time.

Consumer Sales Practices Act (Ohio)

  • Makes it illegal for sellers to misrepresent the nature of their business, products or services,
       the price of their goods or the terms of a transaction.
  • Requires sellers to honor guarantees, warranties and rain checks.

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Product Warranties (Nolo.com)

Taking The Bait Out Of Rebates (FTC)

See Resolving Disputes

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Reaching Company Big Shots

Brand Name Lookup (Ad Redbook Homepage)
At the mid-top of the page click on brand name lookup and find the company behind the product. Then call 1800-555-1212 for the company's toll free #

Thomas' Food Industry Register can tell a company's name, address and phone number, the products it produces and the government agencies that regulate both the products and the company itself.

Find The Company Behind Textile, Fur & Wool Products (RN Lookup)
A registered identification number or RN is a number issued by the Federal Trade Commission, upon request, to a business residing in the U.S. that is engaged in the manufacture, importing, distribution, or sale of textile, wool, or fur products. Such businesses are not required to have RNs. They may, however, use the RN in place of a name on the label or tag that is required to be affixed to these products
.

Information On US & International Companies
Find the company behind the brand name, where they're located, their financial info, their officers, subsidiaries and more.


Finding The Company's Headquarters (Large List Of Addresses & Links).

See Consumer-SOS/Public Records  

See Resolving Disputes

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The Right To Keep, Cancel or Return Merchandise
See if any of the rules or laws below apply to your situation.

Refunds (Ohio)
Are stores required to post their refund policies?

Can Companies Charge Early Cancellation Fees? (Ohio)
As long as the cancellation fee was included in the contract, it is legal for the company to charge it. To avoid future problems, always read the terms and conditions of any contract before you sign it.

Home Solicitation Sales Act (Ohio)

  • Gives consumers three days to cancel any transaction of $25 or more that occurs at a location outside the sellerís regular place of business, such as the consumerís home, a fair booth or a hotel meeting room.
  • Requires sellers to give consumers written notice of their right to cancel.  
  • Prohibits sellers from beginning any service or selling any loan agreement during the three-day ďcooling offĒ period.
  • Requires sellers to refund consumers within 10 days if they cancel the contract.

Consumer Sales Practices Act (Ohio)

  • Protects consumers from unfair, deceptive or unconscionable acts or practices in connection
        with the purchase or solicitation for a purchase that would be used for the home or personal
        use.
  • Makes it illegal for sellers to misrepresent the nature of their business, products or services,
       the price of their goods or the terms of a transaction.
  • Prohibits sellers from taking advantage of a consumerís illiteracy, mental or physical disability, or
       inability to understand the terms of a sale.
  • Prohibits sellers from selling a product or service to a consumer they know cannot afford or
       substantially benefit from the purchase.
  • Requires sellers to honor guarantees, warranties and rain checks.
  • Protects consumers from deceptive advertising and other types of fraud.

Prepaid Entertainment Contracts Act (Ohio)

  • Protects consumers who pay in advance for the services of health spas, dance studios, diet
       centers, dating agencies or martial arts schools.  
  • Gives consumers three days after their first services are available to cancel their contracts.
  • Sets a three-year limit for the length of these contracts.

Business Opportunity Purchaserís Protection Act (Ohio)
Gives consumers five days to cancel business opportunity agreements.
Requires sellers to give consumers written notice of their right to cancel.
Requires all oral promises to be included in the written contract.
Prohibits sellers from making misrepresentations about the business opportunity

Retail Installment Sales/Layaway Act (Ohio)
Requires merchants to notify consumers who are about to default on their layaway agreements.
Grants consumers the right to cancel their layaway agreements and be refunded at any time.

Certificate of Motor Vehicle Title Act (Ohio)
Unconditional right to cancel your vehicle purchase if dealers do not deliver their titles within 40 days of the purchase.

Telephone Solicitation Sales Act (Ohio)

  • Requires certain telemarketing businesses operating inside and outside Ohio to register with the Ohio Attorney Generalís Office.  
  • Says that no contract made through a telemarketing call is valid until the telemarketer receives a signed, written confirmation from the
       consumer.
  • Requires telemarketers to state their real name, their companyís name and their purpose for calling within the first 60 seconds of a call.
  • Establishes criminal and civil penalties for violations of the law.

Receipt Of Unsolicited Merchandise (Your Right to Keep Such If Mailed To You)

Canceling A Contract/Getting A Refund (Nolo)
Frequently asked questions about canceling a contract or getting your money back.

Shopping From Home
Learn  about your right to return merchandise, cancel orders and protect yourself from fraud.

The Mail & Telephone Order Merchandise Rule
(Brief Sketch Of Your Rights)
When the customer is entitled to a refund because the seller cannot ship on time.

The Mail & Telephone Order Merchandise Rule (Rules Corps Must Follow) 
Did the company follow the rules to a tee?  If not, they are required by law to give you a refund.

Unordered Merchandise (FTC)
What do you do when you receive merchandise that you didnít order? According to the Federal Trade Commission, you donít have to pay for it. 

The Low Down On Late Internet Shipments (FTC Article)
Goods must be shipped within the time stated.  If not, the consumer must be allowed to agree to the delay or cancel the order and receive a prompt refund.

See Resolving Disputes

See Retail Store Policies

See Warranties & Rebates

See Also Contracts

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Getting The Company Or Ad Agency To Pull False Or Misleading Ads

Perhaps you have been harmed by a false or misleading advertisement and want such removed from the public eye. But before you can do anything about it you must first find out who is responsible.  And even when you know who to talk to, it's another matter entirely getting anyone to listen.

Strategy
Use the Advertising Redbooks to find out where the company advertises.  Then in separate letters to both the company and their advertisers, tell them what will happen if they don't pull their misleading advertisement.

Steps

Using Advertising RedBooks

  1. First: Use their brand name lookup if you need the company  that makes the product.
  2. Then get a password and Id so you can log on to the red book site. This site has a free 7 day trial membership to find information such as the advertising agencies employed by the company, a breakdown of the products handled by each agency, and e-mail addresses for key company and ad agency personnel. (Note: Once you sign up, it may take a day before you can log on). 
  3. As soon as you have access, do a subscriber search using the company name. When you score a hit, click on the company name.  From there you'll see several options at the bottom, including "Key Personnel" "Advertising Agencies" and "Brands".
  4. Click on "Advertising Agencies" so you can find the company which does all or most of their advertising. Then write down key names, numbers and email addresses. 
  5. Write a letter to the both the company and their advertising agency telling them their ads are false and must be pulled. 


Your letter should warn them "You are hereby given written notice that at least one of your ads is false and/ or misleading. (Make sure you are very clear about which ad is the misleading one. If possible, enclose the brochure or newspaper clipping that includes the ad. Then explain in one or two sentences why the ad is misleading).

 Next, insert the following:

"On  (fill in the date)           I saw your ad in (name the newspaper, magazine or TV station/radio station) and relied on it to my detriment.

As you know, false advertising is a violation of federal law. If you continue to display these ads, your company may be subject to severe FTC fines and penalties.

Please be advised that you and your ad agency share equal responsibility for any advertisement that is false or misleading.  Under federal law, it matters not whether you designed the ad or merely displayed it.  Both of you have received notice of the defect and both of you will held liable if nothing is done about it.

Please respond within 10 days. Otherwise this letter and samples of your ad (send them newspaper clippings, audio tape recordings, video clips, etc.) will be forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission and State Attorney General's Office for investigation. 

You can reach me at (write in your Name Address and tel #/ and or email)." 

(sign your name).

At the bottom of the last page
put "cc"  and the name of the other firm you're sending the letter to. This shows them that the other firm is also receiving a copy of your letter. So when you write to the product seller, "cc" the advertising company.  And when you write to the advertising company, "cc" the product seller.

Send your letter certified mail return receipt so someone at the company signs for it. Keep your receipt.

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False Advertising/Negotiating For A Refund

Strategy 
(Use The Escalation Approach)

Use The Advertising RedBooks to find out where the company advertises.  Explain to the company that you've been hurt by their false advertisement and need them to give you a refund or make good on their claims. Otherwise they've done false advertising and are in violation of federal law. If they refuse to play fair, notify their advertisers that they too are responsible and must pull these misleading ads. Also notify the Federal Trade Commission.

Remember, few companies survive without advertisers. After all, it's the advertisers that make a firm's products and services known to the public. And if you scare them away, most businesses will die.

Steps

Using Advertising RedBooks

  1. First: Use their brand name lookup if you need the company  that makes the product.
  2. Then get a password and Id so you can log on to the red book site. This site has a free 7 day trial membership to find information such as the advertising agencies employed by the company, a breakdown of the products handled by each agency, and e-mail addresses for key company and ad agency personnel. (Note: Once you sign up, it may take a day before you can log on). 
  3. As soon as you have access, do a subscriber search using the company name. When you find the company that makes the product, on the company name.  From there you'll see several options at the bottom, including "Key Personnel" "Advertising Agencies" and "Brands".
  4. Click on "Advertising Agencies" so you can find the company which does all or most of their advertising. Then write down key names, numbers and email address. 
  5. Write a letter to the company explaining what the problem is and what you want. 

Your letter should warn them "You are hereby given notice that
at least one of your ads is false and/ or misleading. (Make sure you are very clear about which ad is the misleading one. You may want to include the brochure or newspaper clipping. Then explain to them in one or two sentences why it is misleading).

 Then insert the following:

"On  (fill in the date)           I saw your ad in (name the newspaper, magazine or TV station/radio station) and relied on it to my detriment.

Given the situation above, I think it's only fair that: (choose one)

A. I be given a a full refund for all the money I paid.

               Or

B. You make good on the claims of your advertisements.

As you know, false advertising is against federal law. If you continue to display these ads, both, you and your advertising agency may be subject to the severe fines and penalties imposed by the Federal Trade Commission.

If I do not hear from you in 10 days, this letter will be forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission and State Attorney General's Office for investigation.  I will also feel duty bound to forward a copy to (name of their advertising Agency) as they too are responsible.

I can be reached at (Your Name Address and tel #/ and or email)." 

(sign your name).

Send your letter  certified mail return receipt so someone at the company signs for it. Keep your receipt.

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