Paul M. D'Amore
Government Agencies That Can Help With Legal Issues
Sometimes situations arise where a lawsuit is not the most efficient or best way to resolve a problem. The amount of money at stake may not be enough to make hiring a lawyer worth the expense. The issue may be one that involves public policy, or a highly regulated are of commerce.
Several government agencies exist to help with these types of problems. Some even have their own mediation processes that help the parties reach a mutually agreeable resolution without involving any lawyers. These agencies resolve thousands of complaints each year without using the courts. There are times when it is worthwhile to try these agencies first before going to court.
Consumer Response Center
6th and Pennsylvania, NW
Washington, DC 20580
The FTC is a federal agency responsible for preventing fraud, deception and unfair business practices in the marketplace. You can file a complaint about companies, credit reporting agencies, organizations, the media, internet scams, or telemarketing practices. The FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection does not resolve individual consumer problems, but it compiles a list of complaints to be used to investigate fraud and to lead to law enforcement action.
The FTC Consumer Response Center can be reached at 1-877-382-4357.
The FTC also offers a number of publications for consumers.
Go to www.ftc.gov and click on the tab that says “Consumer Protection.”
Topics include: automobiles, computers and the internet, credit and loans, diet/health/fitness, education and scholarships, energy, ID theft, investments, shopping for products/services, and telemarketing.
Consumer Protection Division
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
If you are a Maryland consumer, or if you have done business with a company, organization or individual in the State of Maryland, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division. Mediation is offered to work with you and the business to reach a mutually agreed-upon resolution of the dispute. You can report complaints about medical billing, health care, new car warranties, auto repair, new home construction, landlord tenant disputes and other business transactions.
Criminal Investigations Service Center
Attn: Mail Fraud
10500 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Ste. 200
Columbia, MD 21044-3509
U.S. Postal Inspectors investigate crimes that use the U.S. mail as a way to reach potential victims. These crimes include chain letters, free vacation scams and missing-person scams. Postal Inspectors may take action against violators, but they cannot ensure that you will receive a refund of your lost money.
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave. S.E.
Washington, DC 20590
The primary mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. The FMCSA receives complaints about motor carrier drivers and employers, household goods moving companies, brokers and carriers.
10 N. Calvert Street, Suite 915
Baltimore, MD 21202
The CRC receives and investigates complaints of alleged discrimination. You may file a complaint in person regarding unlawful discrimination in employment, public accommodation, and housing, education, health and welfare services.
4201 Patterson Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215
If you have a complaint about any health provider licensed by the State of Maryland, you may submit a complaint to the MBP on your own behalf or on behalf of a patient. Your complaint may be related to health care services provided by a physician, a physician’s assistant, a psychiatrist, a psychiatrist’s assistant, a medical radiation technologist, a nuclear medical care practitioner, or a respiratory technologist. The Board will review your claim, and will investigate the allegations if it deems fit. The Board also has the power to discipline medical providers for infractions, but cannot compensate you for civil harms (like medical malpractice).
Spring Grove State Hospital
Benjamin Rush Bldg.
55 Wade Ave/Tulip Dr
Catonsville, MD 21228
The Board of Dental Examiners updates and informs consumers of regulations concerning dental hygiene. Consumers who wish to file a complaint against a dental professional with regard to sedation practices, dispensing prescription drugs, unlawful sexual misconduct by a dentist, a dental hygienist or a dental radiation technologist, dental licenses, unsanitary workplaces, unpleasant behavior and the like may contact the Board of Dental Examiners Office or file a complaint form on-line. The Board will review your claim, and will investigate the allegations if it deems fit. The Board also has the power to discipline dental care providers for infractions, but cannot compensate you for civil harms (like dental malpractice).
2310 Broening Highway, Suite 150
Baltimore, MD 21224
The Maryland Transportation Authority is the state agency responsible for financing, constructing, operating, maintaining, protecting, and improving the state’s eight toll collecting facilities. These are comprised of two turnpikes, two tunnels, and four bridges. The MDTA has its own MDTA Police, who are responsible for law enforcement at these sites. If you have an issue with one of these toll facilities or questions regarding the EZPass system, this is the agency to contact to resolve your issue.
200 St. Paul Place, Suite 2700
Baltimore, MD 21202-2272
The Maryland Insurance Administration is a State agency that acts independently of an companies that sell insurance. The Administration regulates Maryland’s insurance industry and protects consumers by ensuring that insurance companies and health plans comply with insurance laws. The MIA can assist you with your insurance inquiry or complaint about health, life, property and casualty insurance.
The MIA has also established a Rapid Response Program designed to help certain consumers resolve property and casualty claims quickly and without having to file a formal written complaint. These claims include auto and homeowners’ claims and claims made under commercial lines policies. For more information about this program, please contact the MIA at (410) 468-2340 or (800) 492-6116 ext. 2340. Participation in the Rapid Response Program is voluntary and does not affect your right to file a formal complaint.
Region II – Capital
1900 Duke Street, Ste. 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
The National Credit Union Administration regulates federal credit unions and insures the vast majority of all credit unions in the United States. While the NCUA does not arbitrate member complaints, it asks that you first try to resolve the issue with your local credit union by contacting the credit union’s customer service department. If that does not resolve the matter, then contact the NCUA for help by completing the Consumer Assistance Form. Once received, the Consumer Assistance Center will send you an acknowledgement of receipt of your request for assistance. Should your complaint fall within the NCUA’s enforcement authority, it will forward your complaint to your credit union for attempted resolution within 60 days of receiving your complaint. If the matter is not resolved, the Center may begin a formal investigation of the matter.
50 Harry S. Truman Pkwy
Annapolis, MD 21401
The Maryland Department of Agriculture is responsible for many of the laws and regulations relating to environmental and consumer protection and to the promotion of agriculture. Its regulatory information center works to ensure compliance with agricultural laws and regulations and to initiate enforcement action when warranted.
Since farming activities can have a direct impact on water quality throughout a state, Maryland devised a system of licenses, permits and approvals to minimize adverse impacts of agricultural activities on the state’s water quality. These state authorizations are issued by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, which regulates activities involving the application of nutrients on farmland and the management of animal waste to help improve the soil and water quality.
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Toll-free: 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9393
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration maintains a complaint database to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists in a motor vehicle or an item of motor vehicle equipment. If a safety defect exists, the manufacturer must fix it at no charge to the vehicle owner. The NHTSA lists information about and receives complaints regarding safety problems in motor vehicles, tires and automotive equipment including child safety seats and recalls.
500 N. Calvert Street Suite 402
Baltimore, MD 21202
The Maryland Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation is the primary regulator for financial institutions chartered in Maryland. The Commissioner of Financial Regulation is responsible for licensing, registering and supervising entities that provide financial services to Maryland consumers including mortgage brokers, mortgage lenders, mortgage servicers, mortgage loan originators, consumer lenders (including “payday” lenders), installment lenders, sales finance companies, credit reporting agencies, consumer debt collection agencies, credit services businesses, debt management companies, check cashers, and money transmitters. The Office can assist you by investigating complaints of questionable business practices involving any of these types of financial institutions under its supervision.
110 Carroll St.
Annapolis, MD 21411
The Comptroller of Maryland allows consumers to file complaints regarding employers that fail to withhold taxes on paychecks or about wages. The Comptroller of Maryland’s Ombudsman’s Office, 80 Calvert Street, PO Box 466, Annapolis, MD 21401, telephone (410) 260-4020, can help you resolve a problem you are having with the Comptroller’s Office that you are unable to resolve through regular channels. The Ombudsman’s Office will respond to your inquiries about unresolved tax matters including mistakes made, undue delays, poor or misleading information or staff behavior.
City Crescent Bldg
10 South Howard Street, 3rd floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
The EEOC is a government agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws and reviews complaints of employment discrimination. If you feel or believe that your rights under these laws have been violated, you may file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. In the alternative, if you want to protect your identity, you may hire an attorney, an individual, organization or agency to file a charge on your behalf. Discrimination may occur based upon age, disability, equal pay, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, retaliation, sex, or sexual harassment.
Consumer Health Information
Room 5377, Building 32
10903 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20993
If you suffer an unexpected side effect or adverse reaction related to an FDA-regulated product, whether you seek medical attention or not, you may report the matter to the FDA. Similarly, you can report problems with animal drugs or devices or animal food, whether you sought veterinary assistance or not. The FDA also wants consumers to report product quality problems, potentially preventable mistakes, therapeutic failures and food concerns. The FDA states that, “if it’s serious to you, we want to know.”
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
The Health Education and Advocacy Unit is a division of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office. This Advocacy Unit offers mediation services to individuals who have a dispute in any of these medical areas:
- They will help resolve a billing dispute between you and your healthcare provider
- If your health care plan refuses to cover a medical procedure or to pay for a medical service, the Unit will mediate the dispute
- If you need assistance resolving a dispute about medical equipment that was defective or was never delivered
If you or someone you know has been denied enrollment in a Qualified Health Plan or denied Advanced Premium Tax Credits or Cost-Sharing Reductions by the Maryland Health Connection, the Advocacy Unit will help you resolve these issues.