AG gets Spanish reports
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 17, 2004
Businesses offering immigration-related services topped the list of complaints
to the state Attorney General's Office by Spanish-speaking residents.
The office, for the first time, separated complaints written in Spanish from the
general consumer complaints. All told the complaints numbered at about 5,000.
More than 400 Spanish-language complaints poured into Attorney General Terry
Goddard's office during the first five months of 2004 with immigration services,
used car sales and mail-order products topping the list.
"Immigration complaints generally have to do with people who offer to help them
legalize their status," and then don't, said Cecilia D. Esquer, chief counsel
for the public advocacy division of the Attorney General's Office.
"They say they can help them complete the forms and get through the immigration
process," and then don't, she added.
Goddard's office oversees consumer protection issues in Arizona.
Consumers also complained that they were sold cars that didn't run, that
repaired roofs leaked and that interest rates or monthly payments were higher
than agreed upon, officials said.
"In Mexico, there seems to be a very big mistrust of institutions," said Harry
Garewal, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber
of Commerce. "When they come here to the United States, there tends to be less
hesitancy to trust because they feel they're being protected with the laws
Similar complaints made the Spanish-language list and general public list
including cellphone and long-distance services.
The Attorney General's Office will use the list to determine fraud trends, said
Andrea Esquer, the attorney general's press secretary.
"It's important for us to understand where the minority communities are being
targeted," she said.
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