Ditch the Pitch
All support services critical to the operation of the agency are housed in Administration, including procurement, human resources, accounting and information technology. Division staff plays an integral role in ensuring the Department is aware of changing/ increased requirements and remains in compliance with required procedures.
The Administrator position, the officer appointed by the Commission on Consumer Affairs to administer Title 37 and other statutes falling within the Department’s authority and otherwise manage the day to day operations of the agency, is located in this Division. The General Assembly further charged the Administrator with advising the Legislature and Governor on consumer issues and state of credit in this State.
The Advocacy Division provides legal representation for the consumer interest in matters involving property and casualty insurance and worker's compensation insurance. As the state agency designated to represent the insurance interests of consumers, the Advocacy Division aims to ensure that increases in homeowner's insurance and worker's compensation insurance rates are justified, working to avoid excessive, inadequate or unwarranted rate increases. When needed, an action is filed and the Division submits evidence in hearings that demonstrate the rate request is not justified and often results in adjudications or settlements that generate savings for consumers and businesses alike. The division also reviews rules and regulations proposed by state and federal agencies pertaining to ratemaking and provides comments as deemed appropriate.
The Consumer Services Division provides SC taxpayers with a readily available, experienced, and cost-effective mediation service. The Division processes and mediates written consumer complaints, seeking to find equitable solutions for the consumer and the business, including refunds, adjustments and credits to consumer accounts. The agency takes consumer complaints against businesses regulated by SCDCA, refers complaints that fall within another agency’s jurisdiction, and mediates those complaints against businesses that are unregulated. Given the thousands of complaints SCDCA fields each year (including hundreds which are referred by elected officials, the Better Business Bureau and other agencies) it is clear that the availability of SCDCA's mediation process takes a large load off the court system. This service also saves consumers and businesses the often prohibitive cost of hiring a private attorney and going through the already congested court system.
The Legal Division performs the agency’s licensing, administration and enforcement duties related to the majority of the 120 laws under the agency’s jurisdiction. The General Assembly has charged the DCA with advising the Legislature and Governor on consumer issues and state of credit in this State; administer, interpret and enforce the S.C. Consumer Protection Code and license, register, or otherwise regulate fifteen industries, including mortgage brokers, pawnbrokers, physical fitness centers, motor clubs, credit counseling organizations, prepaid legal services, athlete agents, the sale of preneed funeral contracts, registered consumer credit grantor, maximum rate filing and motor vehicle disclosure programs. and also has regulatory responsibility over the following industries: Motor Clubs (Act 400 of 1984), Rent-to-own businesses (Act 121 of 1985), Physical Fitness Services (Act 165 of 1985), Pawnbrokers (Act 491 of 1988), Mortgage Loan Brokers (Act 544 of 1988), Telephone Solicitations (Act 656 of 1988), Express Warranties on Motor Vehicles (Act 142 of 1989), Athlete Agents (Act 456 of 1990; Act No. 300 of 2004), Motor Vehicle Subleasing (Act 132 of 1991), Loan Brokers (Act 452 of 1992), Motor Fuel Pricing (Act 161 of 1993), Prize Promotions (Act 483 of 1994), Prepaid Legal Services (Act 328 of 2000), Consumer Credit Counseling (Act 111 of 2005), Preneed Funeral Contracts
The division also provides consumer law guidance to the financial industry, magistrates, attorneys, and law enforcement agencies, just to name a few, and serves as legal counsel for the Board of Financial Institutions’ Consumer Finance Division.
The Public Information and Education Division serves as the main consumer education portal for consumers, business and the media. The Division informs consumers and businesses on their rights and responsibilities in the marketplace through traditional and alternative media distribution, including social media, presentations (PDF), media coverage and publications. Education is a central part of DCA’s mission. Cultivating a marketplace comprised of well-informed consumers and businesses prevents deceptive and unfair business practices, allows legitimate business activity to flourish, resulting in the promotion of competition and a healthier economy.
SCDCA’s Identity Theft Unit provides education and outreach (PDF) to consumers across the state to increase public awareness about what identity theft is, the steps consumers can take to protect themselves, and what consumers should do in the event of identity theft. For consumers who are identity theft victims, the Unit provides tailored guidance to victims (PDF) throughout the process of mitigating and resolving their particular identity theft situation(s). The Unit also handles administration and enforcement of state identity theft-related consumer protection laws, including receipt of security breach notices to ensure reporting and notification requirements are met.