The Regulated Industries Complaints Office, or RICO, is an enforcement agency within the DCCA that reviews complaints involving persons who provide specialized trade or professional services to Hawaii consumers that require a license from one of the licensing boards attached to the DCCA. RICO can sue those who provide regulated services to consumers without having a license to perform the work, and, RICO can file actions before the licensing boards against misbehaving licensees, and does so regularly every year. RICO also relies heavily on education, self-informed consumers, and good evidence to uphold the standards of professional conduct and care that are embodied in the licensing laws.
As of 2021, RICO’s authority covered 52 regulated industries consisting of more than 170,000 active licensees. The sheer number of complaints received annually by RICO means that not all cases will be referred for investigation or prosecution, and, enforcement action is not guaranteed. Finally, many consumers want monetary relief or damages, but RICO does not represent individual consumers. Consumers, therefore, are encouraged to seek other forms of relief too.