Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division recovered more than $109 million for consumers and the Department of Treasury over the last fiscal year.
The agency, which shields consumers from unlawful and unfair practices, returned more than $79 million directly to victims and more than $30 million to the state treasury in fiscal 2019, Attorney General Chris Carr said.
“Our office takes seriously our role protecting consumers and ensuring businesses have a stable legal and regulatory environment that allows them to thrive,” Carr said.
Used car sales, debt issues, auto repairs, landlord and tenant issues, home improvement and repairs, health issues, utilities, new car sales and insurance issues were among the top complaints reported to the Consumer Protection Division for the year.
About $29 million was funneled back to car owners and lessees through Georgia’s lemon law, which safeguards consumers from defective equipment. If a seller fails to fix malfunctioning parts after a “reasonable” amount of attempts, the buyer can be awarded replacement equipment or a new vehicle.
The division also received $49 million in restitution or benefits from sellers who violated its Business Practices Act. The act makes it illegal to falsely advertise; pass goods or items as something they're not; and make misleading statements in regards to pricing, according to Georgia law.
CPD's Intake Division responded to nearly 17,000 other consumer complaints and inquiries as well, which led to nearly $240,000 in recovery.
The Consumer Protection Division also enforces the Debt Adjustment Act, which regulates how consumer’s pay off debts; the Do Not Call Law, which restricts telemarketer access with the “Do Not Call” lists; and other business practice regulations.
The funds for the state treasury were collected from legal proceedings and settlements.
Gov. Brian Kemp praised the department for its accomplishments on Monday.
“Keeping Georgia families safe is a top priority of my administration, and I applaud Attorney General Carr and the Consumer Protection Division for their dedicated work in exposing scams and predatory behavior out in the marketplace,” said Kemp.