Rutledge’s Community Outreach Efforts are Unmatched
March 9, 2017
Over 9,000 consumer complaints resolved, $4.5 million obtained
LITTLE ROCK – As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says that in 2016 the office resolved more than 9,000 consumer complaints to directly benefit consumers, held office hours in all 75 counties and Rutledge personally traveled to all 75 counties visiting with Arkansans.
“Arkansans have seen in the first two years of my term that when they contact this office, we will do the fighting for them,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will continue to make sure this office meets the needs of citizens in their communities and listens to their concerns and advice on how to improve government. Protecting Arkansans from scam artists, dangerous criminals and an overreaching federal government, while working to educate people about internet safety and domestic violence remain my top priorities.”
In 2016, over $4.5 million was obtained by the office – approximately $2.5 million from complaint mediation and another $2.5 million from settlements and cases. Arkansas ratepayers will also be saved approximately $118.5 million annually through the successful work of the office in utility rate cases before the Public Service Commission.
Over the course of the last year, 14 lawsuits were filed against Miracle Motors, Orientacion Latina, Automatic Auto Finance, Arkansas Funeral Care, Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, Hyundai/Kia, Reckitt Benkiser Pharmaceuticals, HSBC, Cephalon, Northstar Alarm Systems, Vancurens Auto Sales, United Networks of America, Capital Credit Solutions and NuCold Refrigeration. And 10 lawsuits were resolved, including action against Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, Hyundai/Kia, Reckitt Benkise Pharmaceuticals, Children of Veterans, CashCall/Western Sky, M. Hernandez Multiservices, Cancer Fund of America, HSBC, Cephalon, and USA Discounters.
Rutledge continued the mobile office program, and the office again held hours in all 75 counties. After the success of the initiative in 2015, Rutledge expanded the services offered at mobile offices to include prescription drug take back boxes. The office partnered with law enforcement agencies across the State to handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Since the addition of this service, the boxes have allowed authorities to properly dispose of over 320 pounds of old or unused medications. In 2016, more than 900 Arkansans visited an Attorney General Mobile Office.
Also in 2016, Rutledge unveiled a Laura’s Card to assist and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and also made the card available in Spanish. In addition, Rutledge partnered with the Arkansas Crime Information Center and unveiled a website to assist with the more than 500 active Arkansas missing persons cases. NeverForgotten.ar.gov enables the public to access information on missing persons cases with an easy-to-use searchable database.
In total, the office reached over 35,000 Arkansans in all counties through special events, education and outreach efforts. Educators delivered more than 300 presentations in 2016, educating over 25,000 about internet safety, dating violence prevention, consumer scams, the Freedom of Information Act and identity theft. The office also again held its annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action, Law Enforcement Summit and Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit.