Summary of Action

During the course of its investigation into Utah-companies Vapex, Sinless Vapor, and OZN Web, TINA.org sent a request for records to the Utah Department of Commerce Division of Consumer Protection. TINA.org was seeking, among other things, copies of consumer complaints the Division had received about the companies. TINA.org regularly obtains these types of records about companies from the FTC and other state agencies during the course of its investigations. Utah, however, denied TINA.org’s request, stating that consumer complaints are classified as protected and private under the state’s Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA).

TINA.org appealed the Division’s denial of records, but the appeal was quickly turned down by the Department of Commerce. TINA.org then appealed to the State Records Committee.

Siding with TINA.org, the State Records Committee overturned the Department’s decision and granted TINA.org’s request for copies of consumer complaints regarding the three Utah companies. The Committee determined that the documents were no longer confidential since the Division had publicly announced that it had investigated, cited, and entered into settlement agreements with the companies for multiple violations of the state consumer protection laws.  The Division ultimately provided copies of the complaints to TINA.org on January 16, 2015.

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