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  3. Other Consumer Resources

Other Consumer Resources

There is no shortage of organizations, departments, bureaus and publications claiming to help consumers. Some provide valuable information, others may do little more than let you file a form that ends up gathering dust in a lonely file folder. Most consumer disputes are best resolved in Small Claims Court. You don't need a lawyer and consumers prevail a good percentage of the time.

Small Claims Court Truly "the people's court," Small Claims is often the best venue for problems that are just big enough to be annoying but too small to justify going to war.

Consumer agencies and organizations A brief listing of often-consulted sites. These groups may take reports and some may try to mediate disputes. For the most part, they provide information.

State and local agencies Local agencies regulate and, in some cases, prosecute companies. They may or may not help resolve individual cases. Almost all can at least give you some guidance.

State Utility Commissions are indexed separately. They are the best place to start with issues with telephone, electricity and other utility companies.

Federal agencies Many of these agencies have enforcement powers and can prosecute offending companies. This doesn't mean you get your money back but it may prevent others from falling into the same trap

Attorneys If you have suffered serious personal injury or grievous loss of property, an attorney is the only way to go. But in most cases, the cost of litigating a dispute far exceeds the damages.