We License: Each year, the Department of Consumer Protection issues over 200,000 licenses, registrations, and permits for more than 200 types of jobs and businesses, including pharmacies, liquor stores, casinos, mobile home parks, electricians, home improvement contractors, lottery agents and real estate brokers, to name just a few. We also oversee food and beverage industries, to ensure safety and wholesomeness. We regulate gasoline retailers and home heating fuel dealers, and oversee the production and distribution of all prescription medication in the state.
We Regulate: We enforce many federal and state laws, investigate consumer complaints and mediate disputes between consumers and businesses. The Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act gives us broad authority over unfair business activity and offers the possibility of financial restitution for consumers who have been unfairly treated. The Pure Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the State Child Protection Act and the Weights and Measures Act also help us safeguard residents from harmful products and from unfair or dishonest treatment.
We Monitor: To protect citizens from unfair businesses and unsafe products, we continually monitor the marketplace and remove tainted, fraudulent, and dangerous products from store shelves. We inspect gasoline pumps, scales and all measuring devices used in business to ensure their accuracy. We prevent the illegal sale or prescribing of prescription drugs, and we work to put scam artists out of business and to keep alcoholic beverages away from minors and intoxicated persons. We also ensure the integrity of all forms of legalized gaming.
We Protect: A written complaint is the first step a consumer must take to alert us of a problem. We carefully review each complaint, investigate as needed, and work to find a solution that restores fairness, ensures legal compliance, and wherever possible and appropriate, provides monetary restitution to the consumer.
It's our mission to ensure a fair and equitable marketplace, safe products and services for consumers in the industries that we license, regulate and enforce.
The Department has seven divisions, each with its own area of expertise:
- The Education and Outreach Division is part of the Commissioner’s office and is responsible for developing programs, initiatives, public education campaigns and materials to identify and reach underserved communities, and to assure that all of the Department’s public-facing material is available in plain language. Through research and civic engagement, we attempt to identify barriers and challenges to reaching people who are marginalized by ethnicity, race, language, class, education, culture, citizenship status and physical and mental disabilities.
- Communications is also part of the Commissioner’s office and is responsible for all external communications. The Director of Communications works with all divisions to determine the best response to press inquiries, writes all press releases, designs external publications, managers our social media channels and is responsible for developing the agency’s public communications strategy. The Director also works closely with the Legislative Director on public facing legislative efforts as well as the Education and Outreach Director on the concept, writing, and production of consumer-facing publications, and other projects that address consumer education.
- Legislative and Policy, also part of the Commissioner’s Office, develops and manages legislative strategy for the Department of Consumer Protection. The Legislative Director also works with the directors within the Department, the Office of the Governor and the Office of Policy and Management to craft legislative agenda addressing issues affecting consumer protection, drug control, liquor regulation and medical marijuana. Additionally, the Director collaborates with other state agencies with similar areas of regulatory oversight and serves as point of contact among the Department, professional and trade associations, and their lobbyists.
- The Legal Division is responsible for compliance, enforcement and legislative implementation for all divisions of Consumer Protection. This division conducts investigations, prosecutes administrative enforcement actions, oversees compliance audits, and drafts legislation. In addition to oversight of legal issues affecting the divisions, Legal investigates and enforces the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The Legal Division also oversees the State’s Lemon Law Program and manages the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund and the New Home Construction Guaranty Fund.
- The Drug Control Division works to protect the health and safety of Connecticut residents by regulating the distribution of all legal drugs, medical devices and cosmetics in Connecticut. It also oversees Connecticut licensing for pharmacies, pharmacists, controlled substance providers and laboratories, pharmacy technicians, and drug manufacturers and wholesalers. The division also manages and regulates the Medical Marijuana Program and the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).
- The Foods and Standards Division regulates all persons and businesses that manufacture or sell food products in the state, and ensures that weighing and measuring devices in Connecticut are accurate. Staff also test motor fuel octane, investigate complaints about gasoline stations and heating fuel, and inspect restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores for cleanliness and safety.
- The Investigations Division protects the public from unfair or deceptive business practices, fraud, and scams that affect the Connecticut marketplace, including those sometimes associated with home improvement and new home construction. The Division enforces the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) and helps to mediate disputes between buyers and sellers. This division is responsible for all legal action the agency is authorized to take.
- The Gaming Division works to ensure the highest degree of integrity in the conduct of all forms of legalized gaming within the State of Connecticut and the federally recognized Tribal Nations within the State, by licensing or permitting all individuals and entities that are involved with legalized gaming and by monitoring and educating to ensure compliance with the gaming laws and the Tribal-State agreements.
- The License Services Division processes more than 208,000 licenses each year. Staff also responds to questions about renewals, payments, and other processing issues related to licenses, permits and registrations.
- The Liquor Control Division safeguards the health and safety of Connecticut citizens by regulating all persons and firms involved in distributing, selling, and dispensing alcoholic liquor in order to prevent sales to minors and intoxicated persons, maintain product integrity, and ensure that licensed premises are safe and sanitary.
- The Occupational & Professional Licensing Division protects the public health, safety, and welfare of Connecticut citizens by assuring that only qualified, competent persons are licensed in the occupational trades and in several professional licensing categories.This division also administers eighteen professional Boards, Councils and Commissions to review, establish and maintain educational training and examination standards and in several cases, to help implement and administer statutory and regulatory provisions.
- Operations supports the work of the agency by providing technical assistance to staff, both in addressing existing technology challenges through its Helpdesk, as well as leading process improvement efforts to help the agency become more efficient and customer-oriented. In addition, Operations manages the Complaint Center, which fields issues and inquiries, including Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, from consumers and businesses. Where possible, the Complaint Center seeks to mediate or provide direct information, or may refer the issue to the appropriate internal or external resource. The Complaint Center also tracks trends in complaints in an attempt to identify existing and potential areas of concern for consumers, enabling other division within the agency to educate the public and/or begin a legal case against a particular business that has repeatedly broken the law.
Professional Boards, Councils and Commissions — The Department also administers eighteen professional Boards, Councils and Commissions to review, establish and maintain educational training and examination standards and in several cases, to help implement and administer statutory and regulatory provisions.