The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection is tasked with protecting Chicagoans from acts of consumer fraud, unfair methods of competition, and deceptive practices. This includes any conduct that violates the Municipal Code sections related to business operations or consumer protection, as well as anything that is an unlawful practice under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
Consumers are urged to use 311 to report fraud or other possible illegal practices by businesses or contractors located in Chicago. For home repair work done on a Chicago home, BACP will also investigate complaints against a business or contractor located outside the City.
Municipal Code: Prohibited acts – Consumer fraud, unfair competition or deceptive practices.
Here are some examples of the types of issues BACP can help you with:
- Businesses or contractors who take payment but do not provide the goods or services
- Retail store complaints, including outdated merchandise, overcharges, false advertising
- Restaurants complaints, including issues related to sidewalk cafes
- Businesses operating without the proper licenses
- Complaints regarding valets, rideshare (Uber, Lyft) or taxi services
Complaints to the City of Chicago should be submitted by calling 311, using the CHI311 app, or going online
While BACP does its best to help consumers, some businesses and professions fall outside BACP’s authority. In such circumstances, consumers can reach out to other local, State or federal resources for help.
- Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFPR”) : The IDFPR regulates numerous professions, including accountants, barbers, cosmetologists and funeral directors.
- Illinois Commerce Commission (“ICC”) : The ICC regulates several industries, including public utilities and relocation towing (cars towed from private property).
- Illinois Attorney General: The Attorney General works to protect consumers and businesses that have been victimized by fraud, deception and unfair competition. It has bureaus that focus on the following areas: Consumer Fraud, Charitable Trusts, Franchises, Health Care and Military/Veterans Rights.
- Chicago Rents Right: Rents Right provides landlords and tenants with help in meeting their legal obligations and exercising their rights. Rents Right also provides mediation and dispute resolution assistance.
- The Illinois Department of Insurance (IDOI): protects Illinois insurance consumers by working to ensure that all entities regulated by IDOI are in compliance with state and federal laws, and by informing consumers about their rights under those laws. IDOI provides consumers with information about insurance and investigates complaints about insurance plans, companies, brokers and agents.
Numerous resources are available to help consumers avoid falling victim to consumer fraud or other unfair business practices. This includes protections for Chicagoans who reside in Condominiums and Apartments.
Consumer services – including home repair, as well as immigration and tax services – are a frequent source of complaints. BACP provides guidance to inform consumers of their rights and protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices.