Office of Consumer Protection
Anyone could fall victim to a scam. If you are unable to resolve a problem such as defective products, erroneous bills or non-delivery of goods or services, the dedicated employees of Pinellas County Consumer Protection can help. Consumer Protection is a division of the Human Services Department.
January is recognized as National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Since its inception (2007) the National Human Trafficking Hotline has identified 6,168 cases of human trafficking. 15,063 victims were identified in these cases.” (Source: Human Trafficking Hotline.) In Florida, 781 cases were reported in 2021 involving 1,253 victims. The Office of Consumer Protection represents Pinellas County Human Services as a member of the regional Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force and works closely with law enforcement, community partners and other agencies to bring awareness, provide resources for victims, and information on how to report suspected victimization.
National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888
Learn more about how to protect yourself and family with these online safety tips Go to: Human Trafficking Blue Campaign Online Safety
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Investigation of used auto dealership fraudster results in order of restitution for victims Beginning 2015 and continuing through 2018, multiple consumers purchased…
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Information & Resources
We work to find solutions that restore fairness and ensure legal compliance. Millions of dollars have been recovered for consumers through refunds, adjustments and court-ordered restitution. For assistance with a consumer problem, the first step is to file a written complaint online, by email or at our office.
Our goal is to assist the parties in reaching a satisfactory resolution. The mediation process is conducted through telephone contacts and informal hearings, which are held at the offices of Consumer Protection, the consumer’s residence or the business location.
Violations of consumer protection laws can lead to criminal charges resulting in punishment for the offender and possible monetary reimbursement through court-ordered restitution.
The Office of Consumer Protection is responsible for licensing and enforcement of certain county ordinances that help protect the citizens of Pinellas County. These include:
- Organizations conducting bingo
- High-prescribing health clinics
- Adult Use establishments in unincorporated areas of Pinellas County
- Towing rates
- Human Trafficking public awareness signs
- Price gouging during a state of emergency
- Charitable solicitations
- Moving services
- Our goal is to prevent you from becoming a victim of a scam.
- Consumer education presentations are given FREE to local civic groups, high schools and at community events.
- Always verify that a business has the proper license for the job or service and check their complaint history.
- Knowledge is your best defense against consumer fraud.
Keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Visit www.DoNotCall.gov to reduce unwanted solicitation calls by placing
your telephone number on the national Do Not Call Registry.
- Read the fine print before signing a document or finalizing a purchase.
- Beware of fraudulent offers and promotions that are too good to be true. These may include email solicitations, home improvement scams or high-pressure sales transactions.
- Never “wire” money to an unknown person. You should not have to send money to receive a free prize or promise of employment.
- Protect your personal information to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.
- Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to review your credit report annually.
- Shop around, compare prices and obtain more than one quote for a product or service.