Potomac News Online | Consumer Information

The customer may always be right in an ideal world, but in the real world, it rarely goes as smoothly as all that and often intrudes quite rudely upon one’s quiet enjoyment of life and general peace of mind.

When things don’t go as they should, Prince William County residents have a host of state and local options available to report complaints or find consumer information.

Think you’ve been ripped off? The state provides a consumer affairs department to aid residents who believe they have been wronged. The state office does not provide legal advice and consumers retain the right to pursue legal remedies if they remain dissatisfied.

The state consumer affairs office acts as a clearinghouse on consumer information, offering pamphlets with advice on avoiding consumer problems and refers complaints to the appropriate state or local agency.

The state consumer office can help address non-technical complaints about health care providers, including doctors, dentists, clinics and nursing homes.

But complaints about quality of care would be referred to the board that licenses those professional institutions.

Call the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Consumer Protection in Richmond at (804) 786-2042. The department also operates a toll-free Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-552-9963.

? Consumers may also file complaints if they’re dissatisfied with the work performed by a licensed professional such as a home improvement contractor, appraiser, engineer, accountant, cosmetologist and those in a wide range of other fields.

Call the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation in Richmond at 1-800-367-8500.

? To check on the license of a home improvement contractor, call the contractor licensing section at (804) 367-8511.

? Prince William County operates a 24-hour automated phone line with recorded information on frequently asked, consumer information questions. That number is (703) 792-4643, Ext. 205.

? Those with complaints about cable TV service should call the Prince William County switchboard at (703) 792-7183.

Complaint Lines

If the neighbor’s barking dog, thumping stereo or wild parties are keeping you awake at night call one of the following numbers:

? Nuisance noise: Prince William County: Call the police non-emergency number (703) 792-6500.

? Manassas Park: Call the city police department, (703) 361-1163.

? Stafford County: Call the sheriff’s department (540) 720-4450.

? Roads: With the exception of Manassas and Manassas Park, the Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for road construction and repairs in the area south and west of the City of Fairfax.

For information on road construction or to report problems, contact the Virginia Department of Transportation office.

In Prince William County, that number is (703) 383-8368.

In Stafford County, the number is (540) 899-4300.

In Manassas, call Public Administration at (703) 257-8259. In Manassas Park, call (703) 335-8840 and ask for Public Works.

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