NEWS RELEASE: Hawaii Consumers Empowered with New Online Complaints PortalPosted on Jul 14, 2021 in News Releases, RICO
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS
REGULATED INDUSTRIES COMPLAINTS OFFICE
DAVID Y. IGE
CATHERINE P. AWAKUNI COLÓN
COMPLAINTS & ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2021
Hawaii Consumers Empowered with New Online Complaints Portal
HONOLULU — The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) launched a new website portal that allows the public to electronically submit formal complaints against professional and vocational licensees as well as unlicensed persons. The complaints portal follows the release of another online tool RICO debuted a few months ago that enables consumers to immediately report unlicensed activity occurring in the community.
The new complaints portal is an efficient and economic option for consumers, as it eliminates the need to print and fill in a paper complaint form and mail it with copies of supporting documentation to RICO. When a complaint is filed electronically, the system will conveniently generate an e-copy for the user too.
The portal is also a welcomed upgrade to RICO operations. Complaints submitted electronically are received and integrated into RICO’s system in real time, which reduces the agency’s historical reliance on paper and substantially lessens the amount of data entry, filing and scanning typically required of paper-filed complaints.
During the portal’s first ten days of operation after its soft launch, RICO received six consumer complaints electronically. “Our office continues to strive to improve services for consumers likely dealing with a stressful situation when reaching out to us. We hope they find the portal convenient and easy to use, and that electronic filing will be the norm going forward as more learn of the available option,” said Esther Brown, RICO’s Complaints and Enforcement Officer.
The portal can be accessed through RICO’s website at: https://cca.hawaii.gov/rico/file/. The public may also call RICO directly at 808-587-4272 with questions about filing online.
RICO relies heavily on filed complaints to monitor conduct in the regulated industries. Regulated industries include, but are not limited to, tradespersons in the building industry such as contractors, plumbers, engineers and electricians; physicians, nurses and pharmacists who work in the health care industry; and car dealers, salespersons and auto repair mechanics who work in the motor vehicle industry, to name just a few. A list of current regulated industries and the specific professions and vocations within them are available at: https://cca.hawaii.gov/rico/the-regulated-industries/.
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The Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) is a division of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) and enforces the licensing laws for the various professional boards, commissions and programs that are administratively attached to the department. RICO receives, investigates and prosecutes complaints about possible licensing law violations and unlicensed activity. In addition to complaints, RICO staff-initiates cases based on tip information, information from law enforcement agencies, and information from professional organizations, insurance reporting, media reports and the like.
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (808) 586-7582