The Office of Consumer Protection is a County agency which provides four main services for the citizens of Pinellas County:
- Mediation of consumer complaints.
- Criminal investigation of consumer fraud.
- Regulation of Charitable Solicitation organizations, Bingo, Fortune Telling, Moving, Price Gouging, Towing and Adult Use establishments.
- Consumer education.
Dispute Resolution Section
- Provide third-party assistance in solving disputes through mutually agreeable resolutions.
- Investigates and mediates consumer-business disputes.
- The mediation process is conducted through telephone contacts and informal hearings held in the office, consumer's residence or business location.
Regulatory Enforcement Section
- Enforces charitable solicitations ordinance
- Licenses Adult Use establishments operating in unincorporated areas of Pinellas County.
- Licenses charitable, authorized organizations and all lessors who are involved in the conduct of Bingo.
- Regulates Pinellas County Towing, Price Gouging, Moving and Fortunetelling ordinances.
- Informs consumers and businesses of their rights and obligations under existing consumer protection laws.
- Train law enforcement on criminal consumer protection laws.
- Consumer education presentations are given to local civic, community organizations, and the public school system.
- The Department distributes consumer education pamphlets, and provides consumer awareness information to the media.
If you have questions about any of the procedures mentioned here, or wish to check the complaint history of a business, contact the Pinellas County Office of Consumer Protection at (727) 464-6200.
Criminal Investigations Section
- Conduct a consumer fraud investigation and submit the evidence to the State Attorney's Office for criminal prosecution.
- Investigates consumer complaints identified as violations of criminal laws.
- Criminal charges and conviction may result in punishment for the offender and possible monetary reimbursement through court ordered restitution.