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Virginia makes changes on handling consumer complaints

Sunday - 7/29/2012, 1:26pm  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- It could get a bit easier to file a consumer complaint in Virginia because of some government consolidation.

In the past, if you filed a consumer complaint you'd hear from an investigator in the state's department of agriculture. The case would handled by the Attorney General's office if it went to court.

Now, the entire consumer affairs department is within the Attorney General's office. It was a move recommended by a government reform commission.

Virginia has been criticized by some consumer advocates for not being tough enough but Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is now running for Governor, says that's not the case.

"Virginia has a different culture. We're much more business friendly," says Cuccinelli. "But that doesn't mean we want our consumers abused."

Cucinnelli says just having the lawyers and investigators in the same office like 40 other states should make enforcement of consumer laws better.

"This will make us better at enforcing the laws we've got."

The consumer hotline within the Attorney General's office handles about 48,000 consumer complaints each year.

That number is 800-552-9963.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)