Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

May 7, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Baltimore - In this month's issue of his Consumer's Edge newsletter, Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. advises consumers how to successfully resolve a problem with a business.

"We've all been unhappy with a product or a service," Curran said. "The key is to politely and clearly ask the business to make the situation right, and to be persistent if you don't initially get the outcome you want."

Curran says one of the most important things a consumer can do is to keep calm. Success often rests on the ability to remain reasonable and coolheaded, even if the consumer has to explain the situation more than once, or gets an initial refusal from the business. A consumer who has kept records of the transaction, such as the receipt, repair order, warranty, contract or ad describing the product, is also more likely to be successful.

Other tips the Attorney General offers:

Report the problem right away.

Ask to speak to someone in authority. Keep going up the "chain of command" if the first person you speak with isn't able or willing to help you.

Document your efforts to resolve the problem. Keep notes of conversations, and note the names of people you spoke with, dates and outcomes.

Put your complaint in writing if your first attempts to get satisfaction fail. Send a complaint letter to the general manager of the store. If that doesn't work, call or write to the corporate consumer affairs office, if there is one.

If you are not able to resolve the problem with the business through your own efforts, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division for help: (410) 528-8662 or toll free 1-888-743-0023. The Division offers a free mediation service to help consumers and businesses work out a solution. Consumers can file a complaint against a business with forms downloaded from the Attorney General's website at

Curran's office distributes The Consumer's Edge free to more than 900 businesses, agencies, schools and community associations. Groups interested in receiving a monthly issue should call 410-576-6956. Issues of the newsletter are also available at the Attorney General's website at