Consumer Rights

The sales staff at most stores will approach to ask if you need assistance. Smile, be polite and let them know if you need help or if you want to continue browsing on your own. Most will respect your wishes but if an associate seems too aggressive or pushy, ask for more time alone to shop. Sometimes you may encounter uncooperative or rude salespeople when you have a complaint or need to return an item. Ask to speak with the supervisor and attempt to resolve the issue. For larger companies you may file a complaint with the company headquarters by phone, letter or email. Most major retailers have corporate offices listed on their websites. If you paid for a defective item with your credit card, contact the issuer and file a complaint. They can put a hold on payment to the retailer until the situation is resolved or credit funds back to your account if fraud or deception is involved. If you encounter poor service, faulty merchandise or rude treatment at a store you can file a complaint with the Consumer Affairs Department (www.consumeraffairs.com) or the Better Business Bureau (www.labbb.org). The State Attorney General’s office (http://ag.ca.gov/consumers) also keeps consumer complaints on file and looks into shady practices. Most stores and shopping malls have security personnel on staff. If you feel that you are being harassed, followed or feel uneasy about a fellow shopper’s behaviour, find a security person and alert them to the problem.

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