The following information is a guide on how to proceed if you feel you have been treated unfairly, find yourself in a disagreement or have a question that needs answering by state and/or local government.
How the Small Business Advocates Can Help You
Try to resolve it at the agency/unit of government. Take notes, make copies, get names/phone numbers/emails.
Follow these best practice recommendations for more positive results:
- Be pleasant and decent. Treat workers with respect and courtesy, even if you’re frustrated.
- Be patient. Research takes time and workers must juggle many tasks and time demands.
- Be persistent. Give workers a reasonable amount of time and then check back.
- Prepare. Gather data and material ahead of time to explain and exhibit your situation logically.
- Outline or summarize your main points
- Read what agencies send you and be mindful of directions and deadlines. If you don’t understand notices or correspondence you receive, ask questions first of the agency that sent it.
- Ask to escalate your concern/question if frontline workers do not understand your question or concern.
- If your calls do not yield results, consider filing a written complaint directly with the agency. Be sure to explain yourself. Be professional and courteous. Cite exhibits when possible. A written complaint allows for a thoughtful, reasoned approach and gives you the benefit of providing supportive evidence.
- When appeal rights are offered, consider them carefully. Note that the Small Business Advocates are unable to assist you with a contested case hearing.
- Always save a copy of correspondence and relevant records. It’s a good idea to save a copy of anything you send to any government entity.
Check that your dispute is something we can help with.
We CAN consider:
- Inquiries and complaints regarding the administrative acts of most state agencies, provided you are not in a contested case process and have not initiated legal action.
- Inquiries regarding the administrative acts of most units of local government, provided you are not in a contested case process and have not initiated legal action.
- Questions about starting, expending or winding up the operations of a business in Oregon.
We CANNOT examine:
- Federal agencies (though we’ll be happy to refer you to resources).
- The judicial branch (including attorneys, judges and other court officials)
- Elected officials at any level of government
- Homeowner Associations
- Private parties, whether individual citizens, private nonprofits or for-profit entities.
- Long-term care facilities (please contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman)
When we would otherwise have jurisdiction, we do not review complaints in the following situations:
- We cannot take complaints from third party persons. This means your CPA and your bookkeeper cannot file a complaint on your behalf. We can only work with a business owner/principal or nonprofit executive directors or board members or their designee.
- If you are using an alternative remedy.
- When you delay filing the complaint too long to justify review and investigation.
- When you do not have sufficient interest in or are not personally aggrieved by the matter of the complaint.
- If the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith.
- When the resources of our team are not sufficient for adequate review and investigation of your complaint.
- When the complaint is the subject of pending litigation or a pending contested case proceeding under ORS 183.
File an inquiry or complaint with a Small Business Advocate.
Please contact our office and describe your problem. We prefer that you use our electronic complaint form, but it is not required.