SCDCA Divisions: Services Provided
Administration Division | Advocacy Division | Consumer Services Division |
Legal Division | Public Information and Education Division | Identity Theft Unit
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 division also processes the following filings: Credit Grantor Notification, Maximum Rate and Motor Vehicle Dealer Closing Fees.
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.
As the state agency designed to represent the insurance interests of consumers, the Advocacy Division reviews insurance rate requests filed with the Department of Insurance, predominantly involving homeowner's insurance and worker's compensation insurance rate filings. When needed, an action is filed and SCDCA submits evidence in hearings that demonstrate the rate request is not justified which often results in adjudications or settlements that generate savings for consumers and businesses alike. The division also has regulatory responsibility over the following: Continuing Care Retirement Communities (Act 97 of 1989), Discount Medical Plan Organizations (Act 377 of 2006), Professional Employer Organizations (Act 169 of 1993) and the regulation of the sale of cosmetic contact lens without a prescription from an authorized dispenser.
Consumer Services Division
The Consumer Services 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 the SCDCA, refers complaints that fall within another agency’s jurisdiction, and handles those complaints against businesses that are unregulated. Given the thousands of complaints the DCA 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 DCA'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 complaint mediation services offered and provided by SCDCA are unmatched by any state or federal agency as the Department serves as the sole agency engaging in the mediation of individual complaints against unregulated businesses.
The Department is the administrator and enforcer of the law governing consumer credit transactions 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.
Public Information and Education Division
SCDCA serves as the main consumer education portal for consumers, business and the media. To ensure a high degree of awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities, staff makes presentations and sponsor webinars on ID Theft, debt collection, foreclosures, credit and other popular topics for SC businesses, government agencies, service providers and consumers, particularly those of modest means and the elderly. The agency also answers hundreds of calls per month pertaining to consumer scams and laws and disseminates press releases and consumer education brochures.
Identity Theft Unit
Established October 1, 2013, the Identity Theft Unit will aid South Carolina consumers through eduation, guidance and enforcement in the identity theft arena.
Education. SCDCA’s Identity Theft Unit will provide education and outreach to South Carolina consumers across the state to increase public awareness and knowledge about identity theft, the steps consumers can take to protect themselves, and what consumers should do in the event their identity is stolen. The Unit will also answer scam calls, maintaining a database of those calls to help keep consumers informed on what types of scams are most prevalent.
Guidance. For consumers who are identity theft victims, the Unit will provide ongoing guidance throughout the process of resolving their particular identity theft situation and mitigating the negative effects.
Enforcement. The Unit will handle administration and enforcement of the state’s Financial Identity Fraud and Identity Theft Protection Act as well as other identity theft-related consumer protection laws. Among other duties, the Identity Theft Unit will receive security breach notices and ensure reporting and notification requirements are met.