Yesterday Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced new proposals to strengthen consumer protection laws in Indiana. Among the top complaints are those dealing with home repair and construction scams. Often home repairs are needed immediately because of weather or emergency-related events. In these cases, homeowners often feel they don’t have time to examine all the alternatives and this leaves them more susceptible to dishonest contractors. Zoeller is proposing a voluntary registration system for contractors available to the public online. This would simplify homeowner access to information about reputable contractors. To be listed a contractor would be required to post a bond to cover customers in case the contractor violated Indiana’s consumer protection laws.
Another big consumer complaint concerns debt-collection practices, especially when the debt is not legitimate. Zoeller is proposing new protections requiring debt collectors to increase transparency during the initial contact with the consumer by immediately identifying themselves as a debt collector and disclosing from whom the debt was purchased.
Zoeller is also supporting extension of the Senior Consumer Protection Act to include additional protections for veterans and the disabled. These proposals will be taken up by the next Indiana General Assembly which convenes in January.