MADISON (WKOW) -- Newly obtained documents show the Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, known as DATCP, plans to downsize its investigative team and investigate fewer complaints of fraud, wrongdoing and scams.
Starting in November 2009, a WKOW investigation revealed the department sometimes ignores or hands off serious complaints from consumers. But the department has never publicly acknowledged that it doesn't give serious attention to all complaints.
In a letter dated July 31, 2009, DATCP's secretary, Rod Nilsestuen, wrote a memo to the state's budget director at the Dept. of Administration:
"We will change the way we respond to consumer complaints by: (1) limiting complaint administration and investigation to the most significant complaints, while still providing basic information to all who contact the bureau; (2) reducing the number of consumer protection investigators; and (3) increasing the bureau's statewide presence and effectiveness through traditional media, social media, and partner organizations."
Throughout WKOW's investigation, the department has denied it has any performance issues. Victims from across Wisconsin say otherwise. They filed complaints and expected the department to do something. Many times, it did nothing.
You can read a full slate of reporting on the Who's Protecting You? section of wkow.com.