PHOENIX – The Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AGO) announced that it recovered over $38 million in direct restitution for consumers in 2019. Since AG Brnovich took office in January 2015, the AGO has obtained a record amount of consumer restitution, recovering more than $94 million directly for consumers. In 2019 alone, the AGO:
- Secured over $33 million in consumer restitution through settlements and lawsuits
- Recovered nearly $5 million directly for consumers by working together with consumers and businesses to resolve complaints
- Secured over $17 million additionally in civil penalties and costs from matters involving consumer protection
“We’re fighting hard for consumers every day, whether they’re being targeted by local scammers or giant corporations,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “Our passionate consumer protection personnel are getting amazing results because they make sure every week is consumer protection week at the Attorney General’s Office.”
In 2019, the AGO processed more than 14,000 written consumer complaints and fielded nearly 40,000 consumer phone calls. In addition to working diligently to resolve consumer complaints, the AGO has recently brought legal actions against Purdue Pharma, vaping companies JUUL and Eonsmoke, home warranty company Choice Home Warranty, several executives of Chandler-based opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics, and many others. The AGO also distributed tens of millions of dollars in restitution to consumers from prior legal victories last year.
In recognition of Arizona Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Brnovich released a list of the Top Five Types of Arizona Consumer Fraud Complaints received in 2019.
2019 Top Arizona Consumer Fraud Complaints:
- Telemarketing and Phone Scams
- Motor Vehicle Sales, Repairs, and Rentals
- Mortgage and Real Estate
- Telecommunications (i.e. internet service providers, cell phones, pay TV, bundling)
- Insurance Service Contract/Warranty (i.e. home warranties)
Top Five Tips to Avoid Common Consumer Scams:
- Phone Scams: Never give money in response to an unsolicited phone call, and remember that legitimate government agencies will not threaten you or demand that you pay a debt or fee immediately.
- Motor Vehicles: When buying a vehicle, make sure all promises made by the salesperson or business are put in writing and that you get a copy of all paperwork.
- Real Estate: Read all documents and understand all terms before signing. Do not sign contracts or agreements with blank spaces or in a language you do not understand.
- Telecommunications: Keep an eye on your monthly bill for unauthorized fees or sudden, new charges.
- Home Warranties: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Arizona Consumer Protection Week is held annually in conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week, a nationwide campaign aimed at consumer protection and fighting fraud.
Civil Litigation Division Chief Joe Sciarrotta oversees the Consumer Protection and Advocacy Section (CPA), which is one of the sections in the Civil Litigation Division. CPA is led by Section Chief Rebecca Eggleston and she oversees: Civil Litigation Unit (CLU) - Unit Chief Matthew Du Mee, Antitrust Unit (ATU) - Unit Chief Dana Vogel, Consumer Information & Complaints Unit (CIC) - Unit Manager Tammy Miller, Technology, Information, and Privacy Unit (TIPU) - Unit Chief Evan Daniels, and the Tobacco Enforcement Unit - Unit Chief Doug Lau. The Section is greatly assisted by the Special Investigations Section (SIS) team of consumer fraud investigators.
If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, you can contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.