Mayor Vincent C. Gray

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On March 2, 2009, the Mayor announced several major consumer initiatives aimed at cracking down on illegal activities targeting consumers and residents in the District of Columbia. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will focus special attention on these areas over the next year in an attempt to significantly reduce these illegal activities.

The lists of licensed businesses below are subject to change. Before signing any contract, ask to see a valid business license or call (202) 442-4311 to check on license status or go online.

Fraudulent and “Back Alley” Auto Repair

District consumers are too often defrauded by auto repair shops that perform poor quality work, fail to provide estimates, overcharge for their work, or perform unnecessary work.
Is there an unlicensed mechanic doing business in your neighborhood? If so, your neighbors — and the mechanic’s customers — could be at risk. Illegal auto repair operations often take place in backyards, alleys and garages of private homes.

Because the mechanics are likely unlicensed and may be untrained, the work they are doing may not meet acceptable industry safety standards. Further, these back alley operations may also be impacting the environment by improperly disposing of motor oil, fluids, or other waste products.

The District is targeting these car repair businesses to ensure that consumers are not deceived or defrauded in the process of having repairs performed on their vehicles.

Towing Services

District consumers are often defrauded by towing companies that tow their vehicles, damage their vehicles during towing, charge excessive fees for towing services, take their vehicles outside the District for storage, and charge excessive fees for the storage of the vehicles after they have been towed. The District is targeting companies that provide towing services to ensure that they are properly licensed and deal with consumers in a commercially-reasonable fashion.

District consumers frequently are harmed by home improvement contractors that perform poor work, get substantial payments up front and then abandon the project, or begin work and then significantly increase their projected costs for the improvement or repair work. The District is targeting companies that are not properly licensed to perform home improvements and repairs or that repeatedly fail to honor the contracts that they negotiate with consumers.

Find more information: 

If you receive complaints or know of any District resident who has been harmed by any of the illegal activities set forth above, please submit your complaints or call our Consumer Protection Hotlines to report anonymously.

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: (202) 442-4615
Office of the Attorney General: (202) 442-9828

Or you can email us at: consumer.protection@dc.gov.