The Howard County Office of Consumer Protection attempts to informally resolve disputes between consumers and merchants through mediation. The mediation process begins when a consumer files a complaint with our office.
To file a complaint, you may use our complaint form or write us a letter describing your dispute and the relief you are seeking. Mail your complaint, along with copies of any relevant documents (such as receipts, contracts or correspondence) to Howard County Office of Consumer Protection, 9830 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, MD 21046 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upon receipt, complaints are assigned to investigators who read the complaints and accompanying documents. Investigators will contact complainants to discuss the complaint, ask questions or to request any additional documents that are needed. Investigators will then inform the merchant of the complaint and request the merchant’s response.
During mediation, investigators do not prejudge the validity of a consumer complaint. Rather, they will request that the merchant provide its side of the dispute and attempt to help the parties find a fair resolution that is acceptable to both. However, they will also use their knowledge of federal, state and local consumer protection laws to ensure that any resolution is in keeping with the requirements of those laws.
If you have questions about how to file a complaint or the status of a complaint you have filed, call Consumer Protection at 410-313-6420 (voice/relay).