According to the Direct Marketing Association, complaints occur against even the best of mail-order companies. If you run into trouble with a direct-mail item, you should first contact the company by mail. Give it your account and order numbers and any other information that will help resolve the problem. Keep copies of any correspondence regarding the matter.

If the problem isn't resolved to your satisfaction, you should send a letter of complaint to the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Order Action Line, 6 East 43 St., New York, NY 10017-4646.MOAL acts as an intermediary between consumers and direct marketing companies to resolve complaints promptly. Consumers should include the complete name and address of the company, photocopies of any cancelled checks, order forms, other relevant documents, and a letter summarizing the facts.

You could also send a letter of complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. It cannot intervene in individual instances, but it is interested in hearing about the experiences of consumers. Address your letter to Correspondence Branch, FTC, 6th St and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

Or, you can contact us by writing to Do-It Man, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, UT 84110.

You could also send a letter to the Better Business Bureau.

The following booklets regarding mail-order transactions are available free by writing DMA, 11 W. 42 St., P.O. Box 3861, New York, NY 10163-3861: "Make Knowledge Your Partner in Mail Order Shopping," which offers tips on how consumers can make wise decisions when purchasing through the mail, telephone or television, and "Guidelines for Telephone Shopping," which gives practical advice for people who like the convenience of shopping by telephone, along with tips on how to safeguard against problems.