Where to File Formal Complaints

Where to file a complaint depends upon the product or service involved. Food, for example, is regulated by a different organization than vehicles. Depending upon the nature of the issue, you can and should file complaints on both the state and federal level.

Most Consumer Issues

Many general consumer issues fall under control of the North Carolina Attorney General's Office. This is a good place to start when you have a complaint.

Food, Drugs, Cosmetics and Medical Devices

Meat, poultry and egg products fall under control of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). Some meat products that are processed in North Carolina are the responsibility of state inspectors. For the most part, FSIS handles these claims. File a complaint here.

Packaged foods, produce and fish are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In North Carolina, complaints can be handled by the agriculture department's food and drug division.

The FDA also regulates drugs, cosmetics and medical devices. To report a complaint that did not result in injury or illness, contact the complaint coordinator. For instances that did result in injury or illness, you or your doctor can fill out a MedWatch voluntary reporting form. You would fill out this form if, for example, a doctor diagnosed you with salmonella poisoning after eating a particular food product.

Prepared food sold at grocery stores is regulated by county health departments.

Consumer Products

Consumer products are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC is the group that oversees safety standards for products consumers buy, with the exception of cars and other motor vehicles. You can report unsafe products directly to the CPSC.

Motor Vehicles, Motorcycles, Car Seats, Tires and Auto Parts

The car you drive, the car seat your kids sit in and the buses they take to school are all regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA also oversees tires, auto parts and motorcycle helmets. Generally, after complaints are made, the NHTSA will open an investigation. The results of that investigation will determine whether a product is recalled or left on the market. File a complaint here.

Businesses, Scams, Identity Theft, Spam

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints of unfair business practices, scams and other types of fraud and deception. The Commission also oversees the National Do Not Call Registry. You can file a general complaint here or a complaint about unwanted phone calls here.

At the state level, you can file a complaint with the North Carolina Attorney General's Office. In the case of a grievance with a particular business, after an initial review of the complaint, the department will follow up with the business for a response.

Legal Action

There is also always the option for legal action against a company, should it come to that. For assistance locating a lawyer, please visit our North Carolina Law Directory to find a lawyer near you.