Summary of Action

During the course of its investigation into Utah-company WakeUpNow, TINA.org sent a request for records to the Utah Department of Commerce Division of Consumer Protection. In particular, TINA.org is seeking copies of consumer complaints the Division has received about the company, the type of records that TINA.org regularly obtains 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, which was quickly turned down by the Department of Commerce, and then again to the State Records Committee, which also upheld the Division’s decision to deny TINA.org’s request.

Soon after reaching this decision, the state of Utah changed its laws with respect to the release of consumer complaints.  Now, rather than have a complete ban on the release of these documents, Utah will disclose such complaints but only in certain circumstances: if the complaint is one of 50 or more complaints filed within the last four years, or if the complaining consumer claims to have lost $3,500 or more.

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