CONSUMER FILE

Consumer Protection agency retools website to make investigating Utah companies easier

Jun 1, 2018, 6:45 PM | Updated: 9:30 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Researching a company’s reputation and credentials before you do business with them is a must. It’ll help you avoid getting ripped off. But, Utah’s Division of Consumer Protection website has been confusing and clunky for consumers and nearly unsearchable. Until, today now that the agency has launched a revamped site.

“Our job as a state agency is to be able to have a system that is easy to use,” said Francine Giani, Executive Director of the state’s Department of Commerce, which oversees the Consumer Protection Division.

Giani says the new changes allow consumers now to have easy access to the site’s Legal Actions page, Registered Entity Search page and its Buyer Beware List.

“It’s pretty intuitive,” described Giani. “It’ll make it easier for the public to take a look at what we’re doing here or what has been done. It’ll be great for members of the media that want to look up companies or someone on their own.”

Let’s say you want to hire someone.

“We want people to take a look at the plumber they’ve hired, the electrician they hired, the nail esthetician,” explained Giani. “I think it’s important to do that education.”

Type in the company’s name in the Legal Actions tab, and you’ll see any disciplinary or legal action issued by the state in the past ten years. Not only that, the site explains the document you’re looking at by describing how an administrative citation differs from a notice of agency action or another document.

From there, it will also tell you if the company you’re looking up is on the agency’s Buyer Beware List.

“Boy, it’s pretty specific,” explained Giani. “It talks about what the judgment is.  We’re they deficient in paying a fine. Companies that fail to pay a judgement get put on that list. I hope people see that as a big, red flag.”

Prominently displayed on the same page is a link to the site’s Registered Entity Search. From there, you can see if a business is currently licensed.

Previously, any company current on its license was considered in “Good Standing” even if it was facing a disciplinary action. Now, the “Good Standing” wording has been replaced with a less confusing “Active” or “Expired.”

To do your own research on Utah companies, go to the Division of Consumer Protection at https://consumerprotection.utah.gov/.

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