To Whom Do You Complain About The FTC's Broken Complaint Form?

To whom do you complain about the FTC’s broken complaint form? The Consumerist, apparently. Reader G.W. writes:

The FTC runs a web app that is supposed to allow consumers to complain to the FTC and clue them into stuff they might want to investigate, with the link to it on the page at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/consumer.htm

Thing is though, it doesn’t work, and to my knowledge hasn’t worked for at least a year. After filling out the very long and detailed form and hit Submit, no matter what you put in, it will return a mysql error.

I first encountered this a year ago when trying to file a complaint with them about Paypal, and upon trying yet again yesterday to use it I got the same error. After fidding around with it for quite some time I found out that no matter what values I put into the form I ended up getting an error.

Maybe you folks can get it to work if you test it out, but I sure as hell haven’t been able to. It’s a shame, too. If you’re a consumer that’s been treated so badly by a company that you’ve got to complain to the FTC, the last thing you want is to get fed an error message after spending 30 minutes filling out a complaint form.

Sad. —MEGHANN MARCO

UPDATE: Mary at the BBB says:

    “Call the FTC at 877 382 4357. Then press 450 at each prompt, ignoring messages. (I don’t know how the government came up with that number…maybe because it’s the number of US congressional representatives?) This will get you a live person. Which will help your immediate situation. The other thing people might want to try is complaining about the agency’s deficiencies to their office of the Inspector General. That phone number is 202-326-2800 but I don’t have any clever way around that IVR…sorry.

    It’s also important to remember that while the FTC does like to hear about complaints, pretty much the only thing they can do in most cases is track patterns and inform the public of trends. They can’t help solve your specific problem.”

Comments

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  1. mconfoy says:

    That’s what you get for filing a complaint against paypal. File it here first!

  2. kakashisan says:

    I guess you should call your Congress(wo)man? Judging from the story below, that may give the FTC a swift kick in the behind.

  3. matt_e says:

    I just tried it (filling in everything as ‘test’ or the first option available) and it seemed to go through fine:

    “Thank you for submitting your complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. Your complaint has been registered, and in accordance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, no personally identifiable information has been retained.”