Consumer Complaint? The Government Can Help.

President Reagan is quoted as saying, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

While I can frequently agree with President Reagan, I have found there have been approximately three times over my lifetime where I felt I had been mistreated by business and I used the government complaint system.  Each time I received a quick response from the company and a quick resolution to the problem.

I have leased my cars for many years – probably five consecutive leases from the same company and the same brand of car.  Each time I returned the car I was told it was in fine shape with no “excess wear and tear”.  I came to expect to hear that.  In the spring of 2017, I returned a car and the sales person spoke highly of the condition of the car.

The company had sold the lease to one of the big banks. Soon I began to receive notices that I owed $ l,635.75 for excess wear and tear.  I enjoy driving in a nice car so I use it carefully and had dents and scratches repaired on two occasions. I installed four new tires during the last seven months of the lease and returned it with unused miles.

I called the sales person and then the sales manager.  They assured me the company would take care of the problem with the bank and not to worry.  However, they stopped returning my calls and the letters and phone calls from the bank continued.

I went to the Wisconsin Department of Justice and located a source.  That led to a telephone call where a “real” person gave me excellent help.  I filed a complaint online with the federal government and a separate complaint with the state.  Within a few days I had heard from both sources and received responses from the companies. Someone with authority from the car company contacted me and the complaint was quickly solved.  All excess charges were removed; no-one paid. Both a state and a federal agency had helped me right what I felt was wrong. 

Louise Googins
Googins Advisors