Rebecca Garland
Rebecca Garland
Business and Education Expert

Every state in the United States has a consumer protection agency dedicated to ensuring corporations are being ethical in all of their business practices. The goal ofthese agencies is to protect not just consumer rights but also the employees, competitors and the public from unfair or illegal business practices.

All regulatory organizationsaim to establish and uphold the safeguards the government has put in place to protect others. The federal regulatory agency is a government body set up by legal legislation to oversee and enforce laws. There are numerous regulatory agencies to manage various aspects of business and consumerism across many different areas.

How Can a Consumer Protection Agency Help Me?

Consumer protection agencies are essential in providing valuable resources and support to consumers. While some government regulatory agencies are directly involved in consumer rights, others work to protect both employees and consumers or to improve safety conditions across an entire industry. 

Here are 10 U.S. Government Agencies that can help protect your consumer rights:

Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission or FTC has a goal of protecting consumers against unethical or illegal business practices. Created in 1914, the original purpose of the FTC was to be the government’s weapon against monopolies and companies in violation of the antitrust laws. This federal consumer protection agency expanded over time to protect customers from fraud and false advertising as well. Violations investigated and enforced by the FTC can take many forms, and many of the FTC cases are well known and well publicized. 

When a company has been acting in a deceptive manner, preventing employees from seeking or accepting new jobs opportunities or starting a competing business after leaving, the FTC may step in to force the company into compliance. Prudential Security, Inc. and Prudential Command Inc. in Michigan, for example, leveraged their advantageous bargaining position over low-wage security guards compelling them to sign contracts that included restrictive provisions. The FTC forced companies to remove noncompete clauses that they had applied to thousands of employees.

You can learn more about the safeguards and policies enforced by the FTC by visiting the agency’s website. If you have a concern about a company failing to follow mandatory regulations, you can report that concern to the FTC by contacting them at 202-326-2222. If you want to file an employment discrimination complaint, call 202-326-2196.

Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, was established in 1934 to regulate interstate and international communications within the United States. Various forms of communication including radio, television, telecom, and internet as well as other forms of media fall under the jurisdiction of the FCC. 

The FCC is a US consumer protection agency that has been involved in many changes in the industry over the years. Recently the FCC has been in the headlines regarding banning the sales of new Chinese telecommunications equipment and products made by Huawei and ZTE in the United States. It was a necessary action to protect American communications networks and supply chains from hardware that seriously threatens the country's security or the security and safety of Americans.

To learn more about the FCC and its policies, visit the FCC website or just call the FCC at 1-888-225-5322.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps to safeguard customers when it comes to financial instruments and services. The CFPB is a consumer financial protection agency that regulates the financial industry to ensure that customers have full disclosures and information about credit cards, student loans, and mortgages. 

Specifically, the CFPB monitors the fine print add-ons that companies use to minimize attention to details that can harm or confuse consumers. The CFPB also works directly with affected consumers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau puts affected customers in touch with counselors to provide financial planning and assistance with their financial obligations.

If you have been affected by harmful financial practices, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by phone at1-855-411-2372 to see what the agency can do to help. You can learn more about the services the CPSC provides by visiting the agency’s website as well. 

Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, enforces federal safety standards. The consumer protection agency is designed to protect the public from injury or even death caused by products. The CPSC has been behind many fines and recall notices for everything from children’s clothing to car seats or even toys determined to be unsafe. 

The CPSC also works to educate consumers about the risks of certain products and the age appropriate guidelines for various products and toys. The CPSC regulates the toy industry to be sure that toys are labeled as appropriate for infants, toddlers, and older children. The CPSC publishes guidelines for products like swimming gear for young children to better educate parents and caregivers about the risks water can present for young swimmers. 

If you have concerns about a product and how it may be unsafe for consumers, consider contacting the CPSC. To contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission, you can visit the CPSC website or call the agency at 1-800-638-2772.

Food and Drug Administration

There are also safeguards in place to protect the food and drugs consumers ingest. The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, is responsible for administering food purity laws, testing the safety and effects of drugs and monitoring the safety of cosmetics. The FDA is a customer protection agency that monitors companies to be sure the company is testing and ensuring quality and safety. If a manufacturer sells or provides a product that isn’t safe they can face fines and potentially criminal charges.

The FDA also creates or prompts recalls to protect customers from foods that have been determined to be unsafe. For example, the FDA initiated the investigation of a multistate Salmonella outbreak related to Gold Medal brand flour made by General Mills of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Customer complaints about restaurants and the food they serve often fall under the administration of the FDA. It’s worth noting that complaints about service or nonfood-related concerns are not FDA jurisdiction. 

To check current recalls and legislation about food and drug safety, visit the Food and Drug Administration website. If you have concerns about the safety of cosmetics, food, drink or medicines, you can contact the FDA at 1-888-463-6332. 

Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, exists to protect pollution standards and other environmental concerns like air quality, the purity and safety of water sources, monitoring insecticides and monitoring refining emissions. The EPA is a consumer rights agency that offers customer protection when it comes to the safety of drinking water, recreational water and the air we breathe. 

The EPA shows up routinely in the news for fining or otherwise punishing organizations and manufacturers who fail to meet environmental standards. Car manufacturers who produce autos that fail to meet emission standards, ATV companies who import and sell vehicles that emit too many pollutants, refineries whose emissions are over the allowed limits have all felt the financial sting of an EPA fine. 

If you have environmental concerns about a manufacturer in regard to air or water quality, you can learn more about and contact the Environmental Protection Agency on the EPA website. You can also call the EPA directly by region or by concern using one of the many EPA hotlines. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is a government regulatory agency that monitors and enforces the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or Title VII. The agency works to ensure fair employment without discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, or religion. 

The EEOC works to do this by educating businesses about the regulations and the fairways to treat their employees while also suing businesses that fail to follow these rules. If a company refuses to hire a qualified applicant based on their religion, sexual orientation or race, they are in violation of Title VII and the EEOC may pursue charges. The same is true if a company doesn’t hire a woman because she is pregnant. 

If you feel you have been discriminated against at work based on one of the criteria of Title VII or you have been the victim of a hostile work environment, you can learn more about how to pursue a claim on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website or by contacting the EEOC at 1-800-669-4000.

National Labor Relations Board

The National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, is an independent regulatory agency that works to enforce labor laws within the United States. The NLRB focuses primarily on collective bargaining and unfair labor practices when employees have complaints against a supervisor or supervisory management. 

The NLRB cannot fine or bring legal action against a company or entity, but it can work through other government means to punish those who operate with unfair labor practices. The NLRB decides if employees have ample opportunity for collective bargaining, to oversee labor union representation for employees and to prevent and correct workplace requirements that are determined to be unfair. 

The NLRB has shaped many workplaces over the years and has even influenced entities like Major League Baseball. The NLRB was credited by ending a baseball player strike over wage caps and other hiring practices by the MLB owners. The NLRB ruled that players had the right to organize and collectively bargain against unfair practices. 

You can learn more about the National Labor Relations Board by visiting the NLRB website. If you are concerned about a company that may be in violation of NLRB regulations, you can contact the NLRB directly through your regional office

Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, is the government agency tasked with regulating all aspects of civil aviation or flight for federal consumer protection. The FAA oversees the operation and construction of airports and also manages air traffic as well as the certifications required for air personnel and for aircraft. The FAA is also involved in protecting US interests and participants in commercial space flights. 

The FAA regulates flight inspections and oversees new aviation technology as well as issuing consumer protection laws. The agency also investigates and can suspend or revoke pilot certificates. The FAA is not often mentioned in main street media sources, but it is acting behind the scenes to establish regulations and improved qualifications for pilots to meet medical standards and to fly in various situations including those that can be considered hazardous to better protect passengers and employees alike. 

You can learn more about the latest FAA regulations and updates by visiting the FAA website. If you have concerns about civil aviation or airline flights, you can contact the FAA’s consumer protection office directly at 1-866-835-5322.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The United States Department of Transportation created the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, in 1970 to protect consumers on the roadways. The goal of the NHTSA is to reduce deaths, injuries and financial loss that can occur in vehicle accidents. The NHTSA also investigates designs of cars and vehicle equipment as well as oversees traffic laws. 

The NHTSA also works to educate consumers about the safety of their vehicles and roadways by offering trainings about drunk driving, safety belts, air bags, and child safety seats. The NHTSA has posted recalls about vehicle safety. Issues the NHTSA has addressed include faulty airbags, safety violations with seatbelts, or issues with other defective car parts. 

To learn more about the latest vehicle recalls or highway regulations, visit the NHTSA website or call theconsumer protection agency phone number directly at 1-888-327-4236. 

There are many consumer protection agencies in the United States including the ten listed above. The goal of federal agencies is to protect consumers and improve their buying and enjoyment processes of any number of goods and services. Government protection extends in virtually every industry aiming to ensure consumer safety and protect their rights in all aspects of their lives. Your voice matters, and these agencies are here to speak up for you.


Legal disclaimers:

  1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.
  2. All or some image copyright belongs to the original owner(s). No copyright infringement intended.

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Anita G #8045
I had a situation where we were upset that a person purchased our brand new iRobot M6 mopping robot on Mercari, only to then turn around and break it, claimed it wasn't in NEW condition although I had disclosed in the ad for it that I had opened it and plugged it in, at sat in my laundry room for a few months before I decided to sell it. I never used it. It was brand new. I got it back in unusable, unsellable condition. Mercari, I notified that I was going away for several days and that if she was granted permission to return it I wouldn't be at home for several days which closed my window on rejecting the return. They approved her claim saying it was damaged and that she was allowed to return it to me. As a result, I missed the opportunity to reject her claim. I found many reason why it was a complete lie and that she herself broke it by not following the directions. It had sticky residue on it from her putting some kind of a sticky backed cleaning pad on it, and then to make matters worse, it had dog hair stuck to it.I send a brand new beautiful machine out, I assumed worked, and receive garbage back. I also found it interesting that they believed someone that never sold or bought anything on Mercari before over someone like me that had sold over $2000 worth of goods with a 5-star rating. I think it was an inside job. Someone wanted to try a robot to clean up a mess and not have to pay for it. So they may even have been an employee of the Mercari for all I know. I just thought it was weird that I had so many sales and all excellent reviews. And this is how they screw over the innocent people and get away with it. On top of that incident, I had purchased a Dyson hair dryer on mercari and it was a fake, a knock off. I told them but because I didn't tell them within the small window of time they said it was required to report it, I was stuck with a counterfeit blow dryer and I had paid $250 for it. They also took a while to remove the woman vendor that was selling the counterfeit dryers. Another time, I bought what was supposed to be a brand new pillbox that helps to keep track of how many pills I take and when. It was a cool electronic pillbox but new it was $150. I still paid over $100 for it, but the woman swore it worked just fine. It didn't. I called tech support and it was screwed up beyond all fixing it, so I had to send it back. Well, unfortunately, it arrived on a Friday and I was away until the following Wednesday. I missed the opportunity to reject it, because I was away. So I couldn't get it fixed or I couldn't get it to work so I was stuck with this pillbox that did nothing. It seems that I got screwed at least 3 times by Mercari and no one says anything. I closed my Mercari account because I couldn't trust that others would treat me as I would treat them, with honesty and integrity, and above all else, be truthful and disclose everything. So now you know, Mercari isn't trustworthy.In addition, in an attempt to try to work out the kinks of the Mopping robot debacle, I found a site "Just Answers" which also was a scam site. They claimed that they would call Mercari for me, and were usually successful in getting the answers for issues such as mine. It did not produce. All they did was sign me up for a subscription to their software and then bill me 3 times before I realized they weren't getting anywhere. I tried to stop the subscription but it was on auto-renew which I wasn't aware of and then when my regular daily email was compromised, I didn't think to update them with my new email address, so I was charged a total of 3 times for a service that never did a thing for me! When I requested a refund they just said no, that's their policy even for just $46, they refused to return the subscription amount. I feel like these subscriptions are 90% malignant cancers that just spread and before you know it, you have 5 or 6 subscriptions that you don't even know you pay for or how or where and it's super hard to get rid of them.
wilfredo Jimenez #8047
Yes I was Scam on facebook by A Fake Woman in the Army saying she wanted me to be with her here in the US & tricked me into sending her Money & her Camanding officer Email also to Convince me to send her money I've Lost over $20000 woth this person & Facebook IS No HELP!!!
Manuel Yim #8051
The phone number to Coinmarketcap you provided to me via email is not working phone number. I've tried to call the company, using the number. However, I got a recording message saying that it is not a working number.Could your company help me withdraw my money from Coinmarketcap? Pleae let me know. Thank you in advance for your kind assistance and prompt attention to this urgent matter.Sincerely,Manuel Yim
judith rivera #11724
Very useful information. Would be good idea to include attorneys that take the money from us and then do anything at court.
John Doyle #13297
Which agency to I seek redress from when this situation arises:I get in touch with the Amazon 3rd. party laptop manufacturer who agrees to take back a duplicate laptop but advises me to let Amazon know about the agreement and to ask for a return shipping label. Amazon keeps me waiting for 12 weeks despite repeated reminders and requests and now refuses to do anything about my problem on the grounds that too much time has passed. Yes, due to their laziness. Who do I express my concerns to.
Anonymous #13429
I a concerned pissed because of xfinity .people just keeping getting screwed by the big companies. Stay turned ill with a good example.....