What happens when we receive a complaint?

Staff will first review the complaint, determine if the subject is a licensee, and acknowledge the complaint. It will sometimes also be reviewed with the Board president or a Board member.

If the subject is a licensee, and the issue is more than a fee dispute, a copy of the complaint may be sent to the licensee, who would be invited to respond. The response would be reviewed with the Board president; and further information could be requested if necessary. The Board would review the complaint and the response, and take one of various possible actions, such as: close the case, gather additional information, offer a consent agreement, refer the matter to an investigator, or set a hearing. When a matter is closed, Board staff would notify the complainant and licensee.

If the subject of a complaint is not a licensee, the Board would still be notified, but the case would generally be closed, and the complainant notified, unless it were a matter such as the illegal use of terms such as "accounting". In these situations, the subject generally completes a "sign-off" declaration indicating that they will make appropriate changes in their advertising material in a timely manner. If the subject were to refuse to comply with applicable law, legal action would likely be the next step.

If a complaint is essentially a fee dispute, it would be brought to the Board, but would generally be closed without action, and the complainant would be notified.

Complaints generally must be in writing for the Board to take action, however, the Board members are made aware of unwritten complaints.

A letter of complaint can be sent to NDSBA, 2701 S. Columbia Rd., Grand Forks, ND 58201, or emailed to: ndsba@nd.gov.