Chapter 109:4-1 General Provisions

109:4-1-01 Statutory authority for promulgation.

This chapter is issued by the attorney general of Ohio pursuant to division (A)(2) of section 1345.05 of the Revised Code, and Amended Substitute Senate Bill 221 of the 112th General Assembly which require that the attorney general adopt as a rule a description of the organization of the attorney general's office, stating the general courses and methods of operation of an office of the office of the attorney general, which is to administer sections 1345.01 to 1345.13 of the Revised Code and methods whereby the public may obtain information or make submissions or requests, including a description of all forms and instructions used by that office. This rule is promulgated to serve the best interests of the public and to maintain reasonable and efficient internal management for the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section.

R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/19/2014 and 03/16/2019
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1345.05
Rule Amplifies: 1345.05
Prior Effective Dates: 12-11-77, 6-15-98

109:4-1-02 Purpose of the office of the Ohio attorney general, consumer protection section.

The purpose of the office of the Ohio attorney general, consumer protection section is to protect the consuming public and to promote compliance by suppliers and other persons within its jurisdiction by enforcing the following laws, including but not limited to the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, sections 1345.01 to 1345.13 of the Revised Code: the Ohio Home Solicitation Sales Act, sections 1345.21 to 1345.28 and 1345.99 of the Revised Code: the Ohio Prepaid Entertainment Contract Act, sections 1345.41 to 1345.51 of the Revised Code: the Ohio Odometer Rollback and Disclosure Act, sections 4549.41 to 4549.51 and 4549.99 of the Revised Code: the Ohio Telephone Solicitation Sales Act sections 4719.01 to 4719.18 and 4719.99 of the Revised Code: the Ohio Credit Service Organization Act Sections 4712.01 to 4712.14 and 4712.99 of the Revised Code: the Ohio Business Opportunity Purchaser's Protection Act, 1334.01 to 1334.15 and 1334.99 of the Revised Code: the Ohio Anti-Pyramid Sales Law Sections 1333.91 to 1333.95 of the Revised Code; the Ohio Mortgage Broker's Act, section 1322.01 to 1322.12 and 1322.99 of the Revised Code; the Ohio Condominium Sales Act, sections 5311.25 to 5311.27 of the Revised Code; and sections 1345.30 , 1345.31 , 1345.52 , 1345.77 , 1345.81 , 1345.90 to 1345.95 , 1317.21 to 1317.24 of the Revised Code, and any other state and/or federal laws designed to protect the rights of the consuming public consistent with the legal authority of the office of the attorney general.

Eff 12-11-77; 6-15-98
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1345.05
Rule amplifies: RC 1345.05
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 05/15/2009 and 05/15/2014

109:4-1-03 Objectives of the office of the Ohio attorney general, consumer protection section.

(A) To inform and educate the consuming public and the suppliers of Ohio of their rights and responsibilities under the laws of this state;

(B) To receive and process complaints and inquiries regarding conduct governed by those laws referred to in rule 109:4-1-02 of the Administrative Code;

(C) To investigate practices which come to the attention of the consumer protection section by complaints or through its own inquiries and which may violate those laws referred to in rule 109:4-1-02 of the Administrative Code;

(D) To institute enforcement proceedings in order to promote compliance with and obtain those remedies available through those laws referred to in rule 109:4-1-02 of the Administrative Code;

(E) To conduct research, make inquiries, hold public hearings, and to publish studies relating to consumer transactions;

(F) To adopt, amend, and repeal substantive rules defining with reasonable specificity acts or practices which violate section 1345.02 or 1345.03 of the Revised Code;

(G) To conduct in-depth analyses of specific industry practices which may warrant investigatory hearings or new legislation;

(H) To carry on any other appropriate and necessary activities in order to effectuate the purposes of those laws referred to in rule 109:4-2-01 of the Administrative Code.

Effective: 07/18/2009
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/16/2009 and 07/08/2014
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1345.05
Rule Amplifies: 1345.05
Prior Effective Dates: 4/17/98, 6/15/03

109:4-1-04 Amendment to this chapter.

The attorney general may amend this chapter from time to time as circumstances require in order to institute changes in the internal management of the consumer protection section.

R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/19/2014 and 03/16/2019
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1345.05
Rule Amplifies: 1345.05
Prior Effective Dates: 12-11-77, 6-15-98

109:4-1-05 Organization of the office of the Ohio attorney general, consumer protection section.

The office of the Ohio attorney general, consumer protection section shall be comprised of administrative, and education and community outreach, investigative, legal, and consumer assistance divisions. It shall be the function of these divisions to:

(A) Adopt, amend, and repeal procedural rules;

(B) Make available for public inspection all rules and all other written statements of policy or interpretations adopted or used by the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section in the discharge of its functions, together with all judgments, including supporting opinions, by courts of this state that determine the rights of the parties and concerning which appellate remedies have been exhausted, or lost by the expiration of the time for appeal, determining that specific acts or practices violate section 1345.02 or 1345.03 of the Revised Code;

(C) Inform consumers and suppliers on a continuing basis of acts or practices which violate section 1345.02 or 1345.03 of the Revised Code;

(D) Cooperate with state and local officials, officials of other states, and officials of the federal government in the administration of comparable statutes;

(E) Report annually on or before the first day of January to the governor and general assembly on the operations of the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section in respect to sections 1345.01 to 1345.13 of the Revised Code, and on the acts or practices occurring in this state that violate such sections. The report shall include a statement of investigatory and enforcement procedures and policies, of the number of investigations and enforcement proceedings instituted and other activities of the state and of other persons to promote the purposes of sections 1345.01 to 1345.13 of the Revised Code;

(F) Conduct research, make inquiries, hold public hearings, and publish studies relating to consumer transactions;

(G) Adopt, amend, and repeal substantive rules defining with reasonable specificity acts or practices which violate sections 1345.02 and 1345.03 of the Revised Code;

(H) Without limiting the scope of activities of the consumer protection section of the office of the attorney general, and without limiting the responsibilities of each of the divisions of the consumer protection section, the following shall constitute the duties of each division:

(1) The administrative division shall:

(a) Direct and supervise the overall planing and operation of the consumer protection section;

(b) Propose the adoption, amendment, or rescission of procedural rules concerning the internal management of consumer protection section;

(c) Promulgate substantive rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code which define acts or practices which violate sections 1345.02 and 1345.03 of the Revised Code;

(d) Recommend to the attorney general appropriate disposition of petitions requesting adoption, amendment or repeal of substantive rules that are submitted pursuant to division (E) of section 1345.05 of the Revised Code;

(e) Cooperate with state and local officials, officials of other states, and officials of the federal government in the administration of laws comparable to those set forth in rule 109:4-1-02 of the Administrative Code;

(f) Report annually on or before the first day of January to the governor and the general assembly on the operations of the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section in respect to sections 1345.01 to 1345.13 of the Revised Code, and on the acts or practices occurring in this state that violate such sections. The report shall include a statement of investigation and enforcement procedures and policies, of the number of investigations and enforcement proceedings instituted and of their disposition, and other activities of the state and of other persons to promote the purposes of sections 1345.01 to 1345.13 of the Revised Code.

(2) The investigative and complaint division shall:

(a) Receive and process complaints made by persons concerning events over which the consumer protection section has jurisdiction;

(b) Conduct investigations of matters coming to the attention of the consumer protection section by complaints or through its own inquiries to determine whether a person or group of persons is complying with those laws referred to in rule 109:4-1-02 of the Administrative Code;

(c) Recommend to the administrative division, based upon information received by it, that an enforcement proceeding against a person or group of persons be instituted to effectuate the purposes of those laws referred to in rule 109:4-1-02 of the Administrative Code;

(d) Participate in fact-finding and investigatory hearings to determine consumer problems, aid in the preparation of substantive rules, aid in the resolution of complaints, when appropriate, and aid in the preparation of enforcement proceedings when appropriate.

(3) The legal division shall:

(a) Make recommendations to the administrative division of enforcement proceedings which should be taken where it appears that a violation of those laws referred to in rule 109:4-1-02 of the Administrative Code has occurred;

(b) Take all necessary steps to effectuate those enforcement proceedings, as directed by the administrative division;

(c) Aid in the promulgation of substantive rules and participate in the conduct of public hearings, as directed by the administrative division.

(4) The public information/research division shall:

(a) Publicize the organization and operation of the consumer protection section and inform the public as to how to obtain information and make submissions or requests;

(b) Respond to inquiries concerning all rules and other written statements of policy or interpretations adopted or used by the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section in the discharge of its functions together with all judgments, including supporting opinions by courts of this state that determine the rights of the parties and concerning which appellate remedies have been exhausted, or lost by expiration of the time for appeal, determining that specific acts or practices violate those laws set forth in rule 109:4-1-02 of the Administrative Code. Such responses shall be consistent with the laws of this state governing confidential and/or privileged materials.

(5) The education and community outreach division may:

(a) Prepare publications or consumer education material for distribution to the public including placement on the attorney general website.

(b) Attend public events to distribute consumer education materials, to make presentations, and to collaborate with other agencies, organizations and persons interested in consumer advocacy issues.

(c) Plan, sponsor and conduct events for public participation in consumer advocacy issues.

(d) Train other agencies, organizations and persons on consumer protection best practices.

(e) Organize community groups to educate and advocate for their citizenry on consumer protection issues.

Effective: 07/18/2009
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/16/2009 and 07/08/2014
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1345.05
Rule Amplifies: 1345.05
Prior Effective Dates: 4/17/98, 6/15/03

109:4-1-06 Submission of complaints.

The following procedures apply to the submission of complaints by consumers:

(A) Complaints may be initiated either in writing, by telephone, fax, the internet or in person.

(B) Complaints should fully describe the consumer transaction. The consumer protection section shall proceed as soon as possible to evaluate complaints received that contain adequate information. The consumer protection shall send a complaint form to the complainant when, as determined by the attorney general, inadequate information is provided by letter, telephone, fax, the internet or in person.

(C) Upon receipt of complaints which have been filed in the manner described above, the consumer protection section shall take whatever action is deemed appropriate to effectuate the purposes of those laws referred to in rule 109:4-1-02 of the Administrative Code.

Effective: 07/18/2009
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/16/2009 and 07/08/2014
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1345.05
Rule Amplifies: 1345.05
Prior Effective Dates: 4/17/98, 6/15/03

109:4-1-07 Obtaining information.

The public may obtain information which is a matter of public record or which is otherwise available under Chapter 1345. Of the Revised Code or other controlling provisions thereof by requesting the information either by letter, telephone or in person. Requests should be presented in writing to the office of the Ohio attorney general consumer protection section in Columbus, Ohio.

Eff 12-11-77; 6-15-98
Rule promulgated under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1345.05
Rule amplifies: 1345.05
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/16/2009 and 03/16/2014

109:4-1-08 Petitions requesting the adoption, amendment, or repeal of rules.

(A) In accordance with division (E) of section 1345.05 of the Revised Code, any person may petition the attorney general requesting the adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule of the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section. Such petitions should be submitted in writing and in quadruplicate to the "Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Section, State Office Tower, Columbus, Ohio 43215". Upon receipt of such petitions, the attorney general shall consider such petitions on the basis of their constitutionality, legality, necessity, reasonableness and consistency with, and effect upon, existing law, other rules adopted, or proposed rules under consideration for adoption, by the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section. A petition shall contain the complete text of the proposed rule together with a statement of the basis for such rule.

(B) In accordance with division (E) of section 1345.05 of the Revised Code, the attorney general shall within sixty days of submission of a petition, either deny the petition in writing stating his reasons for the denial, or initiate rulemaking proceedings. There shall be no right of appeal from a denial of a petition.

Eff 12-11-77; 6-15-98
Rule promulgated under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1345.05
Rule amplifies: 1345.05
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/16/2009 and 03/16/2014

109:4-1-09 Making submissions and requests.

The public may make any submissions and requests not covered by rules 109:4-1-07 and 109:4-1-08 of the Administrative Code by doing so in writing. Such requests and submissions should be made to the"Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Section, Columbus, Ohio, 43215."

Eff 12-11-77; 6-15-98
Rule promulgated under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1345.05
Rule amplifies: 1345.05
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/16/2009 and 03/16/2014

109:4-1-10 Description of forms.

(A) The forms used by the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section shall include:

(1) The complaint form- The complaint form shall be available on the internet and/or sent to all consumers who wish to register consumer complaints via telephone and to those persons who have provided insufficient information. This form shall be designed to elicit complete information from the consumer regarding the transaction with and complaint against the supplier, or complaints determined to be within the jurisdiction of the consumer protection section.

(2) Public records request- A public records request form shall be available on the internet or sent to any person requesting a public record in order to obtain specific information needed to complete the request.

(3) Education/community outreach request- A form shall be available on the internet for requesting a speaker or participant at any public event.

(4) Registration forms- Forms shall be available for submission of all supplier registration requirements including telemarketing, title defect recision, dispute resolution programs and debt adjuster audits.

(B) The consumer protection section shall utilize such other forms as may be deemed appropriate to further the objectives set out in this rule.

Effective: 07/18/2009
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/16/2009 and 07/08/2014
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 119.03
Rule Amplifies: 1345.05
Prior Effective Dates: 4/17/98, 6/15/03

109:4-1-12 Notice of public meetings.

(A) This rule is adopted by the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section, pursuant to section 119.03 of the Revised Code, and in compliance with section 121.22 of the Revised Code.

(B) Any person may obtain reasonable notification of the time and place of all regularly scheduled meetings and the time, place, and purpose of all special meetings which are held by the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section, for the purpose of conducting public hearings pursuant to division (B)(1) of section 1345.05 of the Revised Code by requesting such advance notification from the "Administrative Division of the Consumer Protection Section, office of the attorney general, state office tower, Columbus, Ohio 43215." Such request shall be in writing and include self-addressed, stamped envelopes. Notice of the time, place and type of business to be discussed at the meeting will be mailed to such persons at least four calendar days before the meeting unless the meeting is an emergency meeting.

(C) Any representative of the news media may obtain twenty-four hours advance notification of a special meeting which is to be held for the purpose of conducting public hearings pursuant to division (B)(1) of section 1345.05 of the Revised Code by requesting such advance notification from the administrative division of the consumer protection section. Such request shall be in writing and include the proper name of the receipient of such notification, the mailing address and telephone number.

(D) Any representative of the news media may obtain immediate notification of the time, place and purpose of any emergency meeting of the office of the attorney general, consumer protection section, which is to be held for the purpose of conducting public hearings pursuant to division (B)(1) of section 1345.05 of the Revised Code by requesting such advance notification from the administrative division of the consumer protection section. Such request shall be in writing and include the proper name of the recipient of such notification, the mailing address and telephone number.

Eff 12-11-77; 6-15-98
Rule promulgated under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1345.05
Rule amplifies: 1345.05
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/16/2009 and 03/16/2014

109:4-1-13 Severability.

Each division of this rule and every part of each division is an independent division and part of a division, and the holding of any division or part thereof to be unconstitutional, void or ineffective for any cause, including failure to comply with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of any other division or part.

Effective: 10/18/2009
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 08/03/2009 and 10/08/2014
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 1345.05
Rule Amplifies: 1345.05
Prior Effective Dates: 12/11/77