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Consumers can now check business complaint history online

By Staff | Aug 25, 2010

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson announced last week that consumers can now go online and check the complaint history of any company or business that has generated complaints to his department.

Residents can visit the Division of Consumer Services website at www.800helpfla.com and access the complaint data by choosing a box on the left hand side of the page entitled "Business/Complaint Lookup."

In addition to providing the complaint history of a company, the database also provides information on the kind of license, if any, the company has with Bronson’s department.

Before now, consumers could obtain the information by calling the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services toll-free hotline at 1-800-HELPFLA (1-800-435-7352). That service remains available, but those with access to a computer can now check out businesses 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We’re excited and pleased to be offering this enhanced service," Bronson said.  "We recommend that all residents who are considering doing business with a company with which they are not familiar check the organization’s complaint history with our department."

While the new service is designed to provide consumers with instant access to a company’s complaint history and licensing information, it also enables businesses to track complaints against them and lets them know when their licenses are scheduled to expire and therefore need to be renewed.

The Division of Consumer Services regulates and licenses a broad array of business entities in Florida, including auto repair shops, interstate moving companies, health studios, dance studios, travel companies, business opportunities, pawn shops, charities, game promotions, professional surveyors and mappers, and commercial telemarketers. 

In addition, it mediates disputes that consumers have with those businesses, as well as disputes that consumers have with unregulated businesses.

The www.800helpfla.com website that residents can use to access a company’s complaint history can also be used to file a complaint against any company.

The Division of Consumer Services also administers the state’s "Do Not Call" program and Florida’s Lemon Law in conjunction with the state Attorney General’s Office.