December 31, 2007
Jefferson City, Mo. — The record for restitution returned in one year by the Missouri Attorney General's Office to consumers has been eclipsed by more than $4 million, Attorney General Jay Nixon announced today. Nixon's Consumer Protection Division recovered $9,297,589 for consumers through informal mediation in 2007, breaking the record of $5.2 million set in 2006. Since taking office in 1993, Nixon has returned more than $42 million to consumers through informal mediation efforts.
"This has been outstanding work by a team of professionals who are dedicated to helping Missouri consumers," Nixon said. "This record amount was recovered for consumers without the need to set foot in a courtroom, demonstrating how we are continuing to make state government more effective and efficient. Missourians have well-placed confidence in our Consumer Protection Division to help them with consumer issues, and the numbers show that confidence is well-earned."
In addition to the $9.2 million returned to consumers through informal mediation, the Attorney General's Office obtained judgments of $8,946,423 in restitution through legal action brought by the Consumer Protection Division. This compares to $5.5 million in judgments for restitution last year. The combined consumer restitution through enforcement and informal mediation for 2007 was $18,244,013.
Division attorneys obtained nine criminal convictions, and 40 assurances of voluntary compliance and 26 judgments in civil cases in 2007. In addition to the $18.2 million for consumers, the Consumer Protection Division obtained judgments of $2,476,388 in penalties for Missouri schools, $1,153,678 for consumer law enforcement and consumer education, and $364,213 for antitrust law enforcement.
In 2007, Nixon's office handled approximately 100,000 contacts from consumers through the telephone hotline, e-mail, faxes and regular mail. Those contacts included more than 36,000 formal complaints.
Consumers can file complaints online at ago.mo.gov or can contact the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 to obtain a complaint form or ask questions. Nixon also added an online feature, Know MO, to his Web site in 2007 that enables consumers to check on the number of complaints filed against a business or individual.