FOR THE RECORD CORRECTION: The telephone number for the Washington State Department of Real Estate Licensing, Audit/Complaint Office, is (360)586-4602. A fact box in the Sunday business section listed the number incorrectly. A correction was published on Thursday, April 13, 1995.
Consumer-help organizations are much like computers: They can’t help you unless you feed them the right information.
Before calling any consumer group, be realistic about what you can expect. In many cases, expect nothing - especially if you threw away receipts, warranties, credit card billing statements, tags or boxes.
If person-to-person negotiation fails and you can’t afford to retain a lawyer, call the the appropriate watchdog group.
Here’s a list of some of the better-known agencies, their specialties and their phone numbers:
Better Business Bureau of the Inland Northwest, (509) 325-3366.
Alliance Against Fraud in Telemarketing, (202) 639-8140, to learn about telemarketing fraud and report phone scams.
Automotive Consumer Action Program, (703) 821-7000, to resolve disputes between car dealers and buyers after the consumer’s efforts have failed.
Aviation Consumer Action Project, (202) 833-3000, to get statistics on crash survivability and to report excessive airfares and uncompetitive markets.
Bankcard Holders of America, (703) 389-5445, to get assistance in resolving credit disputes and credit counseling to bank card and credit card holders.
Boat Owners Association of the United States, (703) 823-9550, to resolve disputes for members. Fee: $12.50 per year.
Center for Study of Responsive Law, (202) 387-8030, to get information on energy conservation, government procurement and management of taxpayer assets.
Foundation Aiding the Elderly, (916) 481-8558, to report nursing home abuses and get information on federal legislation for the nursing home industry.
Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program, (800) 662-7666, to resolve disagreements and complaints through binding arbitration about funeral directors or funeral homes.
Major Appliance Consumer Action Panel, (800) 621-0477, for a recording that details procedures for filing a complaint with an appliance manufacturer.
National Association of Securities Dealers Inc., (212) 858-4000, to file a complaint about a broker or request information about over-the-counter stocks and bonds.
National Insurance Consumer Organization, (202) 547-6426, to file complaints on insurance policies and abuses.
Northwest Fair Housing Alliance, (509) 838-4710, to file complaints about a landlord, lease or tenant dispute in the Inland Northwest.
Washington State Department of Real Estate Licensing, Auditor/Complaint Office, (509) 326-9222, to file complaints about real estate transactions, brokers and agents in metropolitan Spokane.
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