1. Archive

More agencies that can help consumers

Today is the fifth installment of the Guide to ConsumerServices.

Food safety

International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (IBIDS),; provides information on dietary supplements, including vitamins, minerals and botanicals; cannot answer medical questions, make referrals or provide guidance on dietary supplements.

Agricultural Research Service's Nutrient Data Laboratory, fnic; provides information on nutrients in foods.

Health studios/gyms; dance studios

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, toll-free 1-800-435-7352;

Dance Studio Fraud Hotline, toll-free 1-866-966-7226.

Hearing aids

International Hearing Society, 16880 Middlebelt Road, Suite 4, Livonia, MI 48154; toll-free 1-800-521-5247;

Agency for Health Care Administration, Consumer Services Unit, 2727 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32308; toll-free 1-888-419-3456;; for complaints against practitioners.

Internet fraud

Internet Fraud Complaint Center:

FTC, consumer.htm; click on "E-Commerce and the Internet"; links to consumer scams and fraud on the Internet.


American Bar Association, 321 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610; toll-free 1-800-285-2221;

Florida Bar Association, 651 E Jefferson St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-2300; (850) 561-5600; (850) 561-5834 (for consumer pamphlets); toll-free 1-800-342-8011, (850) 561-5844 (for lawyer referral); (850) 561-5839, press 2 (for complaints against attorneys);

Legal assistance

Mediation services: Hillsborough, (813) 272-5642; Pasco, (727) 847-8174; Pinellas, (727) 490-4040.

Small claims courts: Citrus, (352) 341-6406; Clearwater, (727) 464-3267; Hernando, (352) 540-6445; Hillsborough, (813) 276-8100, ext. 4382; St. Petersburg, (727) 582-7771.

Free legal services for qualified, low-income residents: Citrus, (352) 726-8512; Hernando, (352) 796-7238; Hillsborough, (813) 232-1343; Dade City, toll-free 1-800-625-2257; New Port Richey, toll-free 1-800-625-2257; north Pinellas, (727) 443-0657; south Pinellas, (727) 821-0726.

Lawyer Referral Services: Hillsborough, (813) 221-7780; Clearwater, (727) 461-4880; St. Petersburg, (727) 821-5450; west Pasco, (727) 848-7433.

Legal assistance - civil rights

American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, 4500 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 340, Miami, FL 33137; (786) 363-2700, toll-free 1-800-775-2258 (to order publications);

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 501 E Polk St., Suite 1000, Tampa, FL 33602; toll-free 1-800-669-4000, (813) 228-2310;

Equality Florida, formerly the Human Rights Task Force of Florida; (813) 870-3735;

Florida Commission on Human Relations, 2009 Apalachee Parkway, Suite 100, Tallahassee, FL 32301; (850) 488-7082, toll-free 1-800-342-8170 (for forms to file a discrimination complaint);

Human Relations/Community Affairs Departments: Pinellas, (727) 464-4880; Tampa, (813) 274-5835.

Department of Corrections, Inmate Grievances, (850) 488-0094.

Florida Justice Institute, 4320 Bank of America Tower, 100 SE Second St., Miami, FL 33131-2309; (305) 358-2081; private organization dealing with prisoner mistreatment.


Florida Legislative hotline, toll-free 1-800-342-1827;; for information on status of current or past state bills.

U.S. legislative information, (202) 225-1772;; for information on status of current or past federal bills.


U.S. Postal Service consumer advocate, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 5821, Washington, D.C. 20260-2200; toll-free 1-800-275-8777, (202) 268-2284;

U.S. Postal Inspector, (954) 436-7200.

Direct Marketing Association, 1111 19th St. NW, Suite 1100, Washington, D.C. 20036; (202) 955-5030;, click on "Contact Us"; for complaints regarding mail, phone or Internet transactions.

Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 282, Carmel, N.Y. 10512;, click on "Information for Consumers"; to have your name removed from the following types of national mailings: major nonprofit solicitations, financial services, book and music clubs, magazine and sweepstakes offers, major retailers.

Mobile homes

Federation of Manufactured Home Owners of Florida Inc., P.O. Box 5350, Largo, FL 33779-5350; (727) 530-7539;

Florida Manufactured Housing Association, 2958 Wellington Circle N, Suite 100, Tallahassee, FL 32308; (850) 222-4011;

Mobile Home Construction, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 5701 E Hillsborough Ave., Suite 2228, Tampa, FL 33610; (813) 740-4298, ext, 226;; regulates mobile home and recreational vehicle construction and helps consumers with structural problems during first year warranty period.

Bureau of Mobile Home Regulation, Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes, (850) 488-2221.

Moving companies

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Consumer Services; toll-free 1-800-435-7352;; for complaints against intrastate movers and to get a copy of its "Household Moving Within Florida" guide before hiring a local or in-state mover.

Department of Transportation's Office of Motor Carriers; moving.htm; for moves between states, to receive a free booklet, "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move." The moving company must, by law, provide you a copy.

Times editorial assistant Jessica McLuckie contributed to this report.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request.