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Fighting the "nice" fight
SOURCE: NEBRASKA ATTORNEY GENERAL
The Attorney General is a constitutional officer in Nebraska, meaning their duties and authority come from the State Constitution, statutory enactments and common law. As a business owner it is important to know what role the Attorney General's Office (AGO) can play in your business.
The AGO represents the state in all legal matters, both civil and criminal, and where the state has an interest in the outcome of the litigation or dispute.
Essentially they are a large law firm, one of the largest in the state. They have an average of 2,000 active cases in a multitude of categories.
Its major goals are to uphold and defend the Constitution and State of Nebraska laws, increase public safety and security, protect public health and safety, and prevent and prosecute consumer fraud.
Your customers could potentially file a complaint against your business. In the event they do so, you should know what information they can file.
Generally, a filed complaint consists of the business that was involved, the type of interaction, whether the person filing has contacted the business or person about the complaint and if they have contacted an attorney. The AGO also asks about the transaction information (date, payment method, type of product/service, cost of product/service, actual amount paid). Customers are also asked to describe the facts which have led to the complaint. Finally, they are asked to describe what resolution they are seeking for their complaint.
The Consumer Protection Division works to protect public consumers from fraud. The division enforces laws that protect consumers from false, misleading and dubious sales practices.
For business owners, they ensure fair competition between businesses. Mediation service is available to help them resolve complaints against businesses.
This division also provides consumers with the information and education they need to make important decisions. There are a wealth of brochures available to educate and inform the public.
Consumer Mediation Process:
Complaints and disputes between consumers and business owners can often be worked out through mediation. This is a service the AGO offers to Nebraska consumers.
Mediation is a voluntary cooperation between consumer and business, with a mediator acting as the intermediary. In the beginning of the process, the mediator presents the business with a written complaint by the consumer.
If resolution is not reached, litigation may be the next step and the consumer needs to seek private representation from an attorney.
Tiffany is the director of the Hastings Downtown Center association. She has a Master's Degree in Management from Doane College.
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