The Haggler on a Florida Consumer Protection Agency

by Jeff Sovern

Today's Times Haggler column, Calling Out the Robocaller, written by David Segal, and about a troublesome telemarketer, Your Financial Ladder, operated by the Helfenstines, includes an ominous discussion about the effectiveness of a Florida consumer protection agency:

[A] spokesman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says it recently started an investigation of Your Financial Ladder that ended uneventfully after an inspector was dispatched to the contact address listed on the company’s Web site, 1760 Sundance Drive, in St. Cloud.       

“The inspector noted that the address was a residence and that there was no evidence of a telemarketing operation at the time,” wrote Amanda Bevis, a spokeswoman for the department. “The investigation had reached a dead end.”       

Actually, the investigation had reached the home of Brenda and Tony Helfenstine. Seriously, that address, according to easily accessible public records, is where the Helfenstines seem to live.       

Deep breaths, people. Yes, it’s maddening that our consumer protection agencies are so easily foiled.

I understand Florida has low taxes. Maybe its consumers are getting what they're paying for in terms of consumer protection.

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