TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recovered more than $400,000 for Floridians during the month of April. The department recovered nearly $3 million for Florida consumers last year from moving companies, vehicle repair shops, pawn shops, health studios, telemarketers, sellers of travel and more.
“Recovering nearly half a million dollars for Florida consumers highlights the department’s dedication to the well-being of our residents and visitors,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “I urge consumers to take advantage of the department’s resources to equip themselves with the knowledge they need to protect themselves against scams and fraudulent activity.”
During the month of April, the department:
- Recovered $412,710 on behalf of Florida consumers;
- Received 2,799 complaints;
- Initiated 224 investigations;
- Arrested 9 individuals;
- Provided assistance to 19,598 consumers through the 1-800-HELP-FLA hotline, online chats and emails; and
- Added 13,822 telephone numbers to Florida’s Do Not Call List. Currently, there are more than 970,000 numbers on the list.
As the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, the department educates the public, investigates complaints and provides mediation on behalf of consumers. The department’s call center is staffed with trained analysts who can respond to questions about programs and regulations under the department’s purview, provide information on a wide variety of topics or direct callers to the appropriate government agency.
Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).