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How to help yourself: ways to solve a problem with a business

If you’ve purchased an item or service that you’re not happy with, your best, first step is to try to work it out directly with the business. After all, most companies want satisfied customers who will return with more business!

Here are the steps to take.

1. Contact the seller – whether it is a store, a service, or even a contractor.  Keep a written record of your discussion, including name of person you spoke with, the date and time, and what was promised you.


If the problem can’t be solved at this level, you may need to go up a level to company headquarters, or even to the manufacturer, where appropriate. Toll-free phone numbers are usually available on product packaging or on marketing materials; you can even go onto the company’s website for contact information.

2. Write a letter – An effective complaint letter is clear and brief, including all the facts.  Make sure to attach copies of documents that support your complaint, such as receipts, repair orders, cancelled checks, contracts, warranty papers and any correspondence with the company.  You may want to send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. This will provide you with proof that the company received your letter of complaint.  A sample letter is below:


IMPORTANT: Enclose COPIES of all relevant paperwork

3.  If your complaint letter does not bring a resolution, there are many organizations that may be able to help you, including the Department of Consumer Protection. The Department works to address complaints about businesses, people and companies doing business in Connecticut. If we cannot help you, we may be able to direct you to someone who will.

  • You may view our website or call our complaint center to determine if we have authority over the type of business that you have a problem with. If we cannot assist, we may be able to refer you to another support organization.
  • You may send in a full written complaint, using the appropriate form on this page.  Be sure to include all relevant facts and copies of documents.  Send or deliver to:
Department of Consumer Protection
Complaint Center, Trade Practices
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT  06106

4. Small claims court may be the correct option. Find more information here.