Complaining about services in Brazil

One thing you will have to get used to in Brazil is complaining. Most Brazilian don´t complain because they are afraid or don’t know where to complain. It took me a long time to get over the “crazy gringa” stereotype and find the right places to complain. In most cases, there is no point complaining at the actual service. You have to look for the regulatory agencies. So here goes a short list of the agencies I have successfully used. The only con is that you have to know how to write in Portuguese.

Banking Institutions

Banco Central do Brasil (click on Registrar Demanda)

If you spent more than 30 minutes in the queue, you can sue the institution. For that, you need a lawyer and proof of the time you went in and the time you were attended (use the senha e ask the attendant to stamp the senha with the time of attendance).

Telephone and Cable TV companies

Anatel (click on Registre sua Reclamaçao)


First try the supermarket. If that fails, which it probably will, visit the website of the chain and send an email to the head office. I once bought rotten frozen food and the head office sent the supermarket an email saying they had to give me a new one.

If all else fails, gather your papers and register a complain at the Procon (click on your state on the right sidebar to get the phone or email).


If you buy something faulty and the store refuses to change it, write to the manufacturer/label and explain. They usually let you ship the product to them for free and return it fixed or give you a new one. The only exception, in my experience, is Casas Bahia. They change it for a new one on the spot.

If all else fails, gather your papers and register a complain at the Procon (click on your state on the right sidebar to get the phone or email).


If you want to complain about abusive rates or tax when you pick up a parcel, ask the attendant at the post office for the form. They take a while to reply, but they do, in writing after an investigation. If you have some other problem, first complain at the Fale Conosco. If that fails, use the protocolo from the Fale Conosco and write to the Ouvidoria.

Petrol Stations (bad petrol)

If you went to a petrol station and suspect the petrol was “adulterado” (mixed with other substances), you can complain to the ANP.

Other Options

Use the Public Attorney´s Office (Ministério Público). Each state has it´s own and it’s really important to contact the Office of your state. This is an example of the SC MP (Santa Catarina). To find yours, Google Ministério Público+denuncia+[your state].

Get a lawyer

If you need a lawyer, I recommend JusBrasil (click on Buscar um Advogado). Their service is excellent and a lawyer in your area answers in a few days.

Use customer complain sites

Reclame aqui sometimes works. It´s a customer complaint website where some companies actually answer and try to solve your problem. It never worked for me though.


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