Filing an Online FTC Complaint is Easy, Fun, and Socially Responsible
Previously I emailed copies of my correspondence and complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can pass along any spam messages there. Now I will show you how to file a complaint against a company online. Note that the FTC will not take an action on behalf of an individual, but as the number of complaints mount, the offender gets noticed by the FTC and action will be taken if there are enough complaints. This isn’t just for spam either, it covers a wide range of consumer protection complaints.
To start, go to http://www.ftc.gov and click on the consumer complaint link.
This actually takes you to https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov when you click on the complaint form link to start the complaint.
Page 1 you should be able to fill out without my help and page 2 asks if you are a member of the armed forces. I do not know how that information is used.
The next screen looks like this
As soon as I checked “Email Spam” it progressed to the next screen.
I selected both “I am getting spam e-mails and I want them to stop” and “I can’t opt out of receiving e-mails from this company” because both are true. In addition to the fact that BMW of Mt. Laurel’s opt out page doesn’t work if you don’t allow client side scripting (that means let them run a program on your computer), but even when they tell me they will stop spamming me they keep doing it anyway.
Next you let the FTC know if you know anything about the company you are complaining about. I’m going to say yes.
Most of the information I need to fill out the next page is at http://www.bmwofmtlaurel.com/, although some of it came from their spam.
Here I click “+ Add another company” because I am also naming The Holman Automotive Group and BMW of North America. For the Holman Automotive Group the Better Business Bureau had some contact information even though the business is not accredited. The process was even easier for BMW of North America as their contact page has all of the details.
The next step is easy enough
Step 4 is to confirm your contact information so you don’t need a picture of that.
In step 5 you can provide additional information, but it is a bit scary that the FTC’s spell checker doesn’t know the words “spam” or “spamming”
The beauty of social networking is that you can reach out to others who are getting spammed or otherwise cheated by companies and organize a complaint campaign to get the bad guys on the FTC’s radar.
So far still no word from BMW of Mt. Laurel, BMW of North America, or BMW AG, but I’m pretty sure they know there’s a disturbance in the force!
Now to move on to filing complaints with State Attorney Generals and to let you know how you can do that too!
For background see:
Part 2 - An Open Letter to BMW AG
Part 3 - How to Get A the Attention of a Global Corporation
Part 5 - Using the Internet Crime Complaint Center (The IC3)
©2012 Randy Abrams - Independent Security Analyst