Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection

The Attorney General protects Nebraskans from fraud and deceptive trade practices, and ensures fair competition between businesses.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the links below to see our most frequently asked questions from each category.

Business FAQ
Charities FAQ
Identity Theft FAQ
Legal Assistance FAQ
Purchase FAQ
Real Estate FAQ
Senior Fraud FAQ
Sweepstakes and Lotteries FAQ
Telemarketing and Technology FAQ
Utilities FAQ

Business FAQ

Q: How do I file a complaint against a business operating in Nebraska?

A: See How to File a Complaint

Q: How do I file a complaint against a business operating outside Nebraska?

A:  Contact the Attorney General's Office in the state where the company is based. To obtain contact information for other state Attorneys General, visit the National Association of Attorneys General website.

Q: What do I do if I am a business owner and have a complaint concerning a transaction my business had with another business?

A: Generally, such a complaint would need to be handled by the judicial system. However, the Better Business Bureau does accept complaints made by one business against another.

Q: How do I obtain corporate information about a company?

A: The Secretary of State's Office is the state agency responsible for handling the corporate filings for businesses that want to conduct business in Nebraska. Corporations are required to register such information as the name and address of their registered agent, principal place of business and the names of the officers and directors of the corporation.

Q: How do I know if a company is legitimate or if the Attorney General's Office is investigating a particular company?

A: We are unable to disclose whether or not a specific company is under investigation.

It is not the function of the Consumer Protection Division to determine whether or not a business is legitimate. We encourage you to contact either the Better Business Bureau or the Secretary of State's office.

Charities FAQ

Q: How do I get more information about a charity before I donate?

A: More than half a million federally recognized charities solicit for contributions. Most are legitimate, but not all.

A legitimate charity sends information about its mission, how your donations will be used and proof that your contribution is tax-deductible. However, some phony charities use names that sound or look like those of respected organizations.

The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance is a good resource to help consumers distinguish organizations from one another and also how donations are used. You may contact the BBB's Charitable division at www.give.org or call (212) 929-6300.

Identity Theft FAQ 

Q: What do I do if I believe I am a victim of identity theft?

A: Our Identity Theft Repair Kit, provides information for individuals who have been victimized by identity theft and for those wishing to safeguard themselves against it.

The repair kit provides the names and numbers of credit bureaus and important tips on protecting your personal information.

Q: What other information is available?

A: Identity theft begins when someone else obtains your identifying information. This includes information such as your name, address, date-of-birth, Social Security number or mother's maiden name. Those who obtain this information can then act as an imposter, using your information to open credit card accounts, deplete your savings, purchase automobiles or apply for loans.

Legal Assistance FAQ

Q: Can you provide me assistance locating an attorney?

A: Unfortunately, we cannot.

However, you may call the Nebraska Bar Association and visit with its representatives about the lawyer referral service. The Nebraska Bar Association may be reached at (402) 475-7091 or toll free at (800) 742-3005.

Purchase FAQ

Q: What do I do if I think my car is a lemon?

A: The Nebraska Lemon Law provides most citizens a choice between:

1.      Informal arbitration, which does not require an attorney, or

2.      Formally suing the car manufacturer in court.

The lemon law is intended to resolve complaints involving chronic car problems with new cars. It allows the owner a refund or replacement when a new vehicle has a substantial problem that is not fixed within a reasonable amount time. 

A consumer needs to be aware that Nebraska's criteria for a "lemon" is very strict; but there may be other options such as warranty claims, even if your car does not fit the criteria for the lemon law. We encourage you to contact the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles' Legal Department at (402) 471-9593 or visit their website.

Q: Do I have three days to cancel a purchase?

A: In some instances, yes. Under Nebraska's Home Solicitation Sales Law, a buyer has until midnight of the third business day to cancel a sale made in a home. This law applies only to sales that occur in a location other than the seller's regular place of business. The law does not cover vehicle purchases.

For more information about what is covered by law and the specifics of the cancellations, contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office at (800) 727-6432.

Real Estate FAQ 

Q: Can you assist me with landlord-tenant issues?

A:  If you have a complaint against your landlord, our office will take and review the complaint. If your complaint is under the jurisdiction of another state or federal agency, it will be forwarded to the appropriate agency.

If your concern requires private legal advice, we will direct you to the lawyer referral program of the Nebraska State Bar Association.

Senior Fraud FAQ 

Q: How do I protect myself?

A: The best way is to become educated on the various schemes and frauds that criminals use. Call us and we will provide you with a copy of our Senior Fraud Brochure.

Q: What other information will be useful?

A: We also have the Senior Anti-Fraud Education (S.A.F.E.) Program. More information on the outreach program is contained in the brochure.

Senior Anti-Fraud Education (S.A.F.E.) Program

Sweepstakes and Lotteries FAQ 

Q: What should I know about sweepstakes and lottery scams?

A: Whether the fraudulent solicitation takes the form of a chain letter, a business opportunity, a check or another "guaranteed" path to easy money, it is best to beware of offers that sound too good to be true.

Here are a few suggestions on how to protect yourself:

  • Throw away any solicitation that asks for payment for a "free" gift. If it is free or a gift, you should not have to pay for it.
  • Throw out any solicitation that doesn't clearly identify the company, its street address and phone number. Pay particular attention if you are directed to call a toll-free number for more information about a product or service. Often when you dial a toll-free number in response to a fake solicitation, you are secretly connected by a telemarketer or sales agent at a pay-per call 900 number. In that case you are paying to listen to a sales pitch for a product, service, prize, contest or sweepstakes.
  • Get rid of any solicitation that looks like a government document and suggests contest winnings or unclaimed assets are yours for a small fee. Legitmate government agencies do not solicit money from citizens.
  • Do not respond to any solicitation offering "prepaid" or "special" deal with a nominal monthly "processing fee."
  • Dispose of any solicitation that asks for your bank or credit card account numbers, or Social Security number.
  • Take your time when responding to solicitations. Check out the company or the offer with the Attorney General's Office or Better Business Bureau in your state and the state where the company or organization is located. This is not always a complete safeguard. There may be no record of complaints if a company is too new or if it has changed its name.
  • Be wary of unsolicited checks that, when cashed, sign you up for products or services you may not want or need.

If you think you have received a fraudulent solicitation or are a victim of a scam, contact the FTC or call the Mail Fraud Complaint Center toll-free at (800) 372-8347. Additionally, you may file a complaint.

Q: How do I remove my name from sweepstakes mailing lists?

A: The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is the largest trade association of businesses that conduct direct marketing through such avenues as telemarketing and Internet marketing. The DMA also operates a service that enables you to register and request to have your name taken off of mail solicitations.

You can contact them at:

Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

http://www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailinglistdave

Q: How do I file a complaint against a sweepstakes/lottery company?

A: See How to File A Complaint.

You may also file a complaint with:

United States Postal Inspector's Office -

Federal Trade Commission

Telemarketing and Technology FAQ 

Q: Does Nebraska have a "No Call" list?

A: Nebraska does not have a state-maintained "No Call" list.

Do Not Call/Do Not Mail - Tired of receiving telephone and mail solicitations? We have a solution for you.

Q: What do I do about unsolicited telemarketing calls?

A: Consumers who want to stop telemarketing calls from most companies that solicit on a national basis are encouraged to contact the National Do Not Call Registry.

Q: What do I do if I have received a suspicious E-mail or fax?

A: Do not respond if you received a suspicious e-mail or fax often called "Nigerian Scam" letters or "419." These are letters named after the Nigerian statute that makes them illegal. Usually these solicitations request that the recpient provide a bank account number to complete a transaction.

Those who respond to these offers will be required to pay a never-ending assortment of legal fees, personal expenses and government fees until drained of all assets! It's important that you do not respond to these solicitations.

Q: What do I do if I have a problem with an item I purchased from an Internet auction site?

A: See How to File A Complaint.

Questions? Call us at (402) 471-2682, toll-free at (800) 727-6432.

You may also contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.

Telemarketing Tips

Beware if an unknown caller:

- Claims you have won a prize and asks you to send money to receive it.

- Instructs you to wire money, especially to a foreign country.

- Offers to have someone pick up a payment from your home.

- Poses as a law enforcement officer who will help you -- for a fee.

Follow these rules to protect yourself:

- Check all unsolicited offers with your Better Business Bureau.

- Don't assume a friendly voice belongs to a friend.

- Never give your credit card or checking account information or Social Security number to an unknown or unsolicited caller.

For more information to help you recognize fraud:

Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Information Web site

Know Fraud
P.O. Box 45600
Washington, DC 20026-5600

If you think you've been a victim of fraud, call the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Response Center, toll-free at (877) 987-3728.

Utilities FAQ 

Q: How can I file a complaint against a telephone service provider?

A: The Public Service Commission's communication department regulates local telephone companies and subscribers' complaints, as well as control of service quality. The Commission can be reached at (402) 471-3101, (800) 526-0017 or: 300 The Atrium, 1200 N Street, Lincoln, NE 68508.

Q: How can I file a complaint against an electric, gas or water company?

A: See How to File A Complaint.