PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office handles a variety of cases, including those that affect consumers.
They range from scams and fraud to shady business practices. According to Attorney General Peter Neronha, his office will step in, even if it’s just for a few hundred dollars.
“We’re helping, for a lot of Rhode Islanders, $100 at a time, and what I mean by that is that there are extra dollars on their utility bill or their TV bill,” Neronha explained.
Another top priority for the AG’s office are cases that fall under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act which prohibits unfair or deceptive business dealings. The state law was passed just a few years ago, and since then Neronha and his team have been taking on industries that were previously untouchable by his office.
“For example, if you were a car dealer and you were regulated by Department of Business Revenue (DBR), the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), we couldn’t go after a car dealer for treating a person unfairly,” he said.
His office has since shifted to get involved on behalf of the consumer. According to its latest annual report, the top consumer complaints were about scam calls, texts and emails.
Neronha said the people behind those scams can be difficult to track down.
“You never want to give personal information over the phone. You never want to give your Social Security over the phone,” Neronha said.
He also warned consumers to be aware of contractors who will try to take advantage of those in need of help after last week’s storms.
“Now, more than ever, Rhode Islanders need to be careful entering contracts or home repair work with really getting references or the Contractors Registrars Board,” he said.