In honor of Tribuna’s 2016 American Dream Awards, in place of our regular consumer education column, we are publishing the following letter from Jonathan A. Harris, Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection. Our partnership with the Tribuna newspaper has played a crucial role in the success of our outreach and education programs. It has provided us with a trusted voice in the communities it serves and more importantly, it has given us an opportunity to listen and respond to concerns and challenges. Twice a month, we address a particular consumer issue, but in this issue, we’d like to illustrate the broader scope of our work.
Meus Mais Calorosos Cumprimentos,
The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection is honored to be part of the Tribuna family.
Portuguese and Spanish speaking communities in Connecticut have played a crucial role in the state’s educational, cultural, culinary, political, and business history for many generations, and we are especially proud that Danbury is home to one of the largest Brazilian populations in New England.
Reaching Tribuna readers through this column, particularly new immigrants to the greater Danbury region, has shown us how important it is to educate consumers in their first language, as well as in English.
The Department of Consumer Protection works hard every day to advocate for and protect all of the residents of our state from fraud, from identity theft to immigration service scams.
But you might not know that we also license and regulate hundreds professions and skilled trades, and help protect people from dishonest home improvement contractors. We look after the safety of food products and keep unsafe toys out of the marketplace. We are responsible for assuring that heating oil and propane providers and gas stations are following state and federal laws and pricing guidelines. We oversee the state’s pharmacies and pharmacists and work with police departments to provide safe disposal of unused and outdated medications. We oversee and regulate legal gaming in Connecticut and, through our Liquor Control Division, we assure the safety and health of residents by regulating people and companies involved in distributing, selling, and dispensing alcoholic beverages in order to prevent sales to minors, and ensure that licensed premises are safe and sanitary.
That is not everything the agency does, but it gives you a glimpse into how this small state agency provides crucial services and resources that help to protect and inform our residents.
Newly arrived immigrant communities are especially vulnerable to dishonest people who try to take advantage of those who may not yet be familiar with the business culture in America, or who need information about pursuing citizenship, or the elderly who may not speak English.
Our mission is to help you protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your businesses; but we can’t do that without your help. We want to be your partner. In order to identify people and businesses who are taking advantage of your communities, we need to hear from you.
We look forward to working with citizen leaders, members of the business, nonprofit, faith-based, and educational communities in order to provide the best consumer information possible. Together, we can remind people that an informed consumer is a smart consumer!
São os meus sinceros votos,
Jonathan A. Harris, Commissioner, Department of Consumer Protection