Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
Bellingham Office: 103 E. Holly Suite 308, Bellingham, WA 98225
Seattle Office: 800 5th Avenue, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98104-3188
Vancouver Office: 1220 Main St., Suite 549, Vancouver, WA 98660-2964
(800) 551-4636/(206) 464-6684
To file a complaint online, click here.
Here’s a snapshot of Washington’s laws regarding deceptive advertising:
Washington Revised Code § 19.86.020: States that unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are unlawful.
Some of the penalties that fraudulent or deceptive advertisers may suffer in Washington include:
- The return of money or property acquired by the unlawful advertising (Washington Revised Code § 19.86.080);
- The cost of reasonable attorney’s fees of the person suing, if that person wins the lawsuit (Washington Revised Code § 19.86.090 and Washington Revised Code Section 19.86.080);
- Up to three times the amount of actual damages (up to $25,000) (Washington Revised Code § 19.86.090).
Small Claims Court in Washington
If you’re not trying to recover big bucks, but rather just trying to recoup the money you spent on a product or service after being duped by a false ad, then you might consider filing a lawsuit in Small Claims Court.
For general info about filing a lawsuit in Small Claims Court, click here.
For info on how to file a Small Claims lawsuit in Washington, click here.
Researching Consumer Complaints
To obtain copies of complaints consumers have filed against a business, you can send a Freedom of Information request to:
Attorney General of Washington
P.O. Box 40100
Olympia, WA 98504-0100
A sample Freedom of Information request can be found here.
**Please note that this page is informational only and does not take the place of legal advice. Please also note that the above summary is meant to provide a brief look at the laws in Washington, and not a comprehensive list.**
The chief law enforcement official in each one of the 50 states; also refers to the person heading the federal government’s Justice Department
A court order that requires a person or company to do a particular act or to refrain from doing a particular act. Example? A court order prohibiting a company from using an ad that’s been deemed deceptive.
Compensation for losses that are proven to have occurred.