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Colorado Department of Law — Annual Report 2009 - page 10 / 41

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Colorado Department of Law — Annual Report 2009

loans alleging that it failed to assess consumers’ repayment ability, falsified application information and charged excessive fees. The trial will be in 2011.

  • Filed briefs in the Colorado Supreme Court in a case involving our ability to investigate unlicensed internet payday lenders that may be tribal entities of two Native American Indian tribes.

  • Passed legislation to add consumer protections to leases and modernize the fee structure paid by licensees and registrants.

  • Updated existing Uniform Consumer Credit Code rules to comport with the new law.

  • Issued the Uniform Consumer Credit Code composite data reports and a press release on 2008 activity in supervised lending, payday lending, and small installment lending.

  • Oversaw the activities of 716 licensed collection agencies.

  • Investigated or litigated 47 cases, collected $51,130 in fines, and required $12,721 in consumer refunds. Most of the cases involved unlicensed debt collection activities and collection of illegal fees.

  • Investigated 757 written complaints against collection agencies in addition to telephone complaints and inquiries.

  • Issued 73 cease and desist notices to unlicensed collection agencies.

  • Litigated an administrative discipline case against a collection agency that continued to contact a consumer after the consumer requested it cease communication. Awaiting the administrative law judge’s decision.

  • Continued to litigate a lawsuit against a collections law firm and its principals that allegedly threatened legal action on old debts beyond the statute of limitations and misrepresented that civil penalties were due prior to obtaining court judgments. The matter is pending.

  • Gathered information for a legislative study on whether to continue the in-state office requirement for out-of-state collection agencies. The study was completed in October 2009 by the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

Office of Consumer Counsel

The Office of Consumer Counsel Unit provides legal support and represents the Office of Consumer Counsel. By statutory mandate, the Office of Consumer Counsel advocates on behalf of residential, small business, and agricultural interests before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and in other forums on issues concerning electricity, natural gas, and telephone service. On behalf of the Office of Consumer Counsel, staff in this Unit appeared or worked on 52 matters before the Public Utilities Commission, including protests, interventions and rulemaking activities. In fiscal year 2009, consumers realized savings, based on the Office of Consumer Counsel’s representation, of $58.5 million.

Significant cases include:

  • Public Service Company of Colorado filed in November 2007 its 2007 Colorado Resource Plan that identifies future electric generating needs through

    • 2015.

      In addition, Public Service requested that the Commission waive its competitive procurement rules to approve the Company’s proposal, for carbon reduction purposes, to replace two coal units at its Cameo Station, east of Grand Junction, and two coal units at its Arapahoe Station in Denver with a new 480 mW natural gas combined cycle facility at the Arapahoe Station. The Commission issued its Phase I Decision which included the closure of

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