The Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau of the New Hampshire Department of Justice enforces the state's consumer protection and antitrust laws. Many investigations by the Bureau are triggered by written complaints received from consumers. A written complaint should contain the name and address of the business involved and explain in detail the facts of the transaction at issue. Also, copies of any contracts, checks, bills of sale and any other document relating to the case must be included with the complaint.
The Bureau can only take enforcement action on matters which fall within its jurisdiction under state laws. There are also many federal consumer protection laws which the appropriate federal authorities enforce. Because the Bureau receives thousands of complaints each year, it cannot investigate every complaint it receives.
The Bureau can:
- Mediate complaints within its jurisdiction by contacting the business involved and asking that it either remedy the problem or satisfactorily explain its side of the story;
- Investigate complaints which appear to indicate repeated violations by a business and, in certain circumstances, take legal action seeking injunction, civil penalties and restitution to consumers;
- Refer complaints to other appropriate state, federal or private agencies that handle consumer problems not within the Bureau's jurisdiction.
The Bureau cannot:
- Pursue complaints unless they involve violations of the Consumer Protection Act;
- Represent a person in court, enforce judgments, or give legal advice or a legal opinion to private individuals;
- Resolve every complaint to the satisfaction of all parties;
- Take action when an alleged violation occurred more than three years before the complaint is filed or three years before the complaining party learned of the alleged violation;
- Handle complaints involving transactions that occurred out-of-state. Out-of-state transactions are usually referred to the Consumer Protection agencies in that state.
Complaints should be addressed to: Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau, 33 Capitol Street, Concord, New Hampshire 03301. You may also download a complaint form or file a complaint online.