VT Attorney General responding to small business issues

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SBA VT District Office

VT AG responding to small business issues

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Thomas J. Donovan Jr., the Vermont Attorney General, announced his staff is taking steps to make the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program more responsive to Vermont small businesses’ issues during a press conference March 13 at the University of Vermont.

The Consumer Assistance Program provides information, referral and mediation services to address consumer complaints.

“We are making the Attorney General’s Office a resource for small business. We intend to communicate clearly what the law is and get businesses in contact with the resources they need. The best form of law enforcement is voluntary compliance with the law,” said Donovan.

The CAP program at UVM was established in 1981. In 2016, CAP fielded 12,309 contacts with consumers and small business. CAP processed 1,483 complaints. As part of the new initiative, during the last two months, members of the CAP office met with forty-two business stakeholders representing over 8,750 employers. These businesses employ roughly 125,000 Vermonters. Vermont’s small businesses provide jobs for over 156,000 Vermonters. More than half of the private workforce in Vermont works for a small business.

The Attorney General’s new initiative will include an ongoing dialogue with small business to keep informed of pending issues. CAP is building a responsive website with more information for small business. The effort will also include timely updates for business consumers to support compliance with new laws.

The Attorney General has launched a listening tour and said it will be an ongoing component of the CAP office.

“Small businesses want simplicity. They want clarity. They want predictability. Small businesses want to know what their legal obligations are. Together, we can build a culture of compliance in Vermont. What we know is that small businesses want to do the right thing. We have to provide clarity as to what the law requires,” said Donovan.

The Attorney General encourages small businesses with questions or complaints to contact the Consumer Assistance Program at 1-800-649-2424 or www.uvm.edu/consumer.