RICHMOND — In today’s complex marketplace, knowledge is the key to helping you stretch your dollar and avoid unsuitable or fraudulent products and services. The State Corporation Commission (SCC) encourages Virginians to protect themselves financially and know where to turn for help – whether they are shopping for a mortgage or other loan, comparing insurance policies, investing, planning for retirement or reviewing their bank statement or utility bill.
In conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week – March 1-7, 2020 – the SCC reminds Virginians that it stands ready throughout the year to answer inquiries, handle complaints and provide information and assistance regarding industry sectors over which it has regulatory responsibility. Those sectors include insurance companies and agents, state-chartered financial institutions, investment firms and their representatives, retail franchises, and investor-owned utilities providing electric, natural gas, water, sewer and telecommunications services.
The SCC offers numerous consumer guides and other information on a variety of topics. Many of these are available on the SCC website at www.scc.virginia.gov. The SCC’s specially trained staff can assist Virginians in making informed choices and filing a complaint if they are not satisfied with the responses they receive from regulated businesses.
During 2019, in addition to fielding thousands of inquiries, the SCC’s regulatory divisions received more than 7,000 complaints involving regulated industries, resulting in more than $15 million in refunds, credits, and rescission or restitution payments to consumers.
Just a few of the many ways the SCC helps consumers include: facilitating payments by insurance companies for claims that were improperly denied; recovering monies improperly charged on loan transactions and securities offerings; ensuring that utilities provide reliable service and respond promptly to any customer billing issues, and reaching out to Virginians before and after disasters.
The SCC urges Virginians to thoroughly evaluate any offer; shop around and compare prices and terms; keep written records of all transactions; find products and services that suit your particular needs; and verify that an individual or company is licensed or registered with the SCC. If a problem arises, try to resolve it with the regulated individual or company first. If you are still not satisfied, you can contact the appropriate SCC division by phone, mail or email using the online complaint form.
The complaint process and forms are available by going to the SCC website at www.scc.virginia.gov
and clicking on the appropriate division. To contact the SCC by phone, call toll-free (in Virginia) at 1-800-552-7945 or, in Richmond, call:
- Bureau of Insurance – (804) 371-9741
- Bureau of Financial Institutions – (804) 371-9657
- Division of Securities and Retail Franchising – (804) 371-9051
- Division of Public Utility Regulation – (804) 371-9611
- Division of Information Resources – (804) 371-9141
In the event the SCC does not have regulatory authority over a particular firm, individual, product or transaction, its staff will assist consumers by referring them to the appropriate local, state or federal authority for assistance. These may include the Attorney General’s office, local consumer protection office, Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission’s toll-free helpline at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
To learn more about National Consumer Protection Week, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/national-consumer-protection-week.