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February 14, 2011

LITTLE ROCK - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today that the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division recovered more than $2.1 million for consumers in 2010, the largest single-year recovery in the history of the state.

The recovery amount represents money returned to consumers involved in disputes with businesses when the consumers requested that the Attorney General intervene on their behalf. The Consumer Protection Division recovered $2,146,509.51 last year.

At a news conference at the state Capitol, McDaniel commended the division's work to mediate complaints filed by aggrieved consumers. The consumer protection division's 10 investigators helped to recover money for Arkansans in all 75 counties.

"These investigators work every day to help consumers who need some assistance in a dispute with a company, and I can't be more proud of their dedication to helping Arkansans," McDaniel said. "While we recovered a record amount of money last year, our office also helped consumers who may have needed a contractor to finish his promised work or who sought help in obtaining a car title."

The Consumer Protection Division obtained monetary recoveries last year for approximately 1,860 consumers, all through mediation. The division resolved scores of other complaints without any related financial recovery, such as those related to foreclosure or debt-collection issues.

Recovery amounts ranged from 20 cents for one consumer to $89,263.73 for another.

McDaniel said the 10 investigators have specialized investigative areas, like health care or home mortgages, thus giving them the expertise to handle related consumer complaints. The specialization also helps investigators develop contacts in various fields so that they can resolve matters quickly and fairly.

McDaniel said businesses that agree to participate in the division's mediation program also reap benefits from staying out of court and working to satisfy consumers.

"We are here to serve the people of Arkansas, and we can do so through helping individuals or small businesses that fall prey to a scam or who may have some real complication in a legitimate business transaction," McDaniel said. "We can often work to reach a resolution and avoid any need for legal action."

McDaniel encouraged consumers to call on the Attorney General's Office if they need assistance in resolving a dispute. The Office's Consumer Hotline number is (501) 682-2341 or (800) 482-8982. Consumer complaint forms are available by mail, e-mail or on the Office's website,