Governor wants Attorney General to oversee consumer complaints - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Governor wants Attorney General to oversee consumer complaints

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Jim Doyle said Friday he thinks the Dept. of Justice and the Attorney General should oversee handling and investigation of consumer complaints.

"This should all be in the Attorney General's office," said Doyle, who served as Wisconsin's attorney general before becoming governor.  "This is something that for years I've been supportive of and that's what's true in most states."

Doyle's comments come after an 8-month WKOW investigation that revealed the Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection sometimes ignores or rushes to close consumer complaints without ever responding to the consumer who filed the complaint.

Consumer complaints used to be handled through the Dept. of Justice, but the legislature shifted responsibility to the Dept. of Agriculture in the 1990s.

Doyle acknowledged on Friday that many consumer complaints will not get any attention.

"DATCP has a difficult job. They really have to try to focus on what are the most serious cases, what are the areas of biggest consumer concern," he said at a planned meeting with reporters about the end of the legislative session in Madison. "I don't think you could expect that DATCP would, every time someone has a complaint against a business, go and investigate that."

Doyle has declined repeated requests for a sit-down interview about the state's handling of consumer complaints.

Here's a full transcript of Doyle's comments about consumer protection:

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WKOW: Are you concerned that DATCP is promising something to Wisconsin taxpayers that it doesn't have the staffing to deliver?

GOVERNOR DOYLE: No. DATCP has a very difficult job in consumer protection. If you want to know my preference from the days I was attorney general, was this should all be in the attorney general's office. This is all something that for years I've been supportive of, and that's what's true in most states. DATCP is not a law enforcement agency. The fact is, if you want, every time someone has an argument with a business over a bill, to have a state employee go in and essentially investigate the entire dispute, and try to decide who the winner and loser is, we could probably add 10,000 more people to the state payroll. DATCP has a difficult job. It's one they really have to try to focus on what are the areas, what are the most serious cases, what are the areas of biggest consumer concern, and in appropriate cases make a referral to the attorney general's office. So I don't think you could expect that DATCP would, every time someone has a complaint against a business, go and investigate that

WKOW: Are they clear to consumers they're not going to go and do that?

GOVERNOR DOYLE: Yeah. [Moves on to next question from another reporter]

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