The Missouri Attorney General's office protects consumers' rights by promoting a free, fair, open and honest marketplace. The Consumer Protection Division aggressively enforces Missouri's consumer protection laws, while educating and advocating for Missouri consumers.
In 2003 the division recovered more than $20.2 million in consumer restitution and penalties (the total for 2004 is not yet available). Among the cases the consumer attorneys pursued are:
* Civil lawsuits against businesses that defraud or make misrepresentations to consumers.
* Consumer prosecutions of businesses that defraud consumers.
* Securities fraud such as investment scams.
* Antitrust matters such as price fixing, which hurt consumers by creating a noncompetitive market.
* No Call law violations.
Missouri's consumer protection statutes prohibit deception, fraud and misrepresentation in the sale or advertisements of goods or services. These laws also authorize the attorney general to stop pyramid schemes, prevent the altering of vehicle odometers and ensure that consumers' rights are protected under laws dealing with home solicitations.
The Attorney General's Office issues a consumer alert on the Web and through the media as soon as it learns about a scam. Missourians who suspect someone is trying to defraud them should e-mail the Consumer Protection Division or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222. They should also contact their local police or sheriff's department.
The Attorney General's Office also provides free consumer publications. These include:
* Landlord-Tenant Law
* Missouri Consumer Fraud Guide (for general public)
* Student Consumer Fraud Guide (for college and high school students)
* Internet Fraud (think before you link)
* Life Choices (this guide helps Missourians plan for the end of life with step-by-step information and forms on how to communicate their wishes for health care)