The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) is a Connecticut agency that controls what is made available to consumers. The way that the DCP does this is by regulating trading practices, charities, toys, food, alcohol, construction sites, gaming, and commercial establishments. Regulating these industries gives the DCP the authority to investigate businesses and individuals that provide these goods and services in these industries. The DCP monitors trading, responds to complaints, investigates allegations, issues professional licenses, and makes sure licensees are upholding their responsibilities.
The DCP and CUPTA
The DCP has jurisdiction over CUPTA, which is an act that prohibits unfairness and deception in the trading industry. When an individual feels that they have been harmed by the unfair or deceptive practices of another, they can file a complaint pursuant to C.G.S. §41-110g with the DCP. The DCP, after receiving a complaint, has the authority to open an investigation into the allegations, enter and investigate establishments, access documents and records, make demands for documents and records, and issue subpoenas.
After an investigation, the DCP can make a determination to pursue the CUPTA allegations and give notice to the alleged violator of the act. After notice is given, the DCP can then hold a hearing in front of a board, take testimony under oath, issue subpoenas to witnesses, and subpoena documents.
Under CUPTA, the DCP can issue penalties or make settlement agreements if it finds that the allegations were substantiated. Because there is a Uniform Administrative Procedure Act, the commissioner of the DCP has certain penalties it can issue and is restricted to certain settlement agreements and disciplinary actions. The DCP does, however, have broad authority to impose fines, punitive damages, civil penalties, restraining orders, and injunctive relief.
Punitive damages are expenses that an individual is ordered to pay because of punishment for their conduct, rather than expenses to cover the harm suffered by the plaintiff. Injunctive relief is an order that restricts a guilty party from performing or engaging in certain acts.
What Does the DCP Control?
The DCP has significant authority over the healthcare industry because of its enforcement of drug control and pharmacy. This agency performs inspections into pharmacies and individuals in the healthcare industry that prescribe medications. The laws that the DCP can enforce are the Pharmacy Practice Act, the State, Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the State Controlled Substances Act. Because the DCP oversees prescriptions, it can open an investigation without a consumer complaint.
Other areas that the DCP controls are:
Home Improvement Contracts
Construction of New Homes
Gas and Heating Issues
Packaged Food Items
Note that the DCP controls prescriptions and pharmacy, but not other health care professionals. The DCP does not license health care professionals or lawyers. The DCP licenses most professionals besides healthcare professionals or attorneys and handles most complaints regarding consumer products.
If you have an issue with your professional license controlled by the DCP, are being investigated by the DCP, or have concerns regarding your professional license, call our office to see how we can help you.