Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock has unveiled a new service that allows Montanans to file a complaint against a business – or search for complaints against a specific business – from their computer.
The Office of Consumer Protection in the Attorney General’s Office upholds Montana’s laws protecting consumers and small businesses from fraud and abuse by businesses that act outside the law. Investigators field thousands of calls and inquiries each year, investigating those with merit and cataloging the complaints. The state in many cases also secures recoveries for consumers who have been wronged.
Until this summer, every complaint came to the office as a paper document and the public could not easily research the complaints lodged against a business.
The new system also allows Montanans to report “scams,” like the Nigerian lottery email fraud or the grandparent scam, in which criminals attempt to trick someone they don’t know into willingly wiring them money.
“The Office of Consumer Protection has been a strong advocate for Montana citizens and small business,” Attorney General Steve Bullock said this week. “This new step puts the power of the office even closer to citizens.”
The office will still accept paper complaints, however the new system removes that step for Montanans who believe they may have been the victim of consumer fraud and who prefer to use the Internet to alert OCP investigators.
“Online commerce is an everyday part of business life,” Bullock said. “It should be an everyday part of government, too.”
The new system still requires consumers to attach documentation regarding their case. Completing the online complaint form takes about 10 minutes, depending on the level of detail the citizen wishes to provide.