The best business regulation is an informed consumer. Therefore, the Federal Government will pay to create a database which will be operated by an independent company where consumers can post complaints against businesses. In order to be fair to businesses, all persons filing complaints must include their full name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Complaints will be reviewed prior to posting and the business will have an opportunity to respond. Any person who files a false complaint will be subject to a fine of up to $10,000.
The database should have the ability to sort by business category (i.e. contractors, retailers, lawyers, etc.) and by state, city, county or zip code. That would make it easy for consumers to research businesses before choosing which business to deal with. In addition, each business could be cross referenced by stockholders, directors and officers to determine whether one problem business was involved in other businesses.
A separate database will be established which includes all stockholders, directors and officers of each company. This will allow consumers to determine whether fraudulent business owners have just closed up shop and re-opened under a new name. It will also allow consumers and the government to monitor persons who have numerous complaints against their businesses. Individuals and companies with numerous complaints should be investigated by the Attorney General.
Most regulatory “boards” should be eliminated unless they serve a legitimate purpose and are actually protecting consumers. For example, the Contractor Licensing Board serves no purpose except to collect fees and employ people. This board has no authority to take any action against a contractor. Before the Board can take any action against a contractor the customer must sue the contractor in civil court and obtain a judgment against the contractor. Therefore, when a consumer calls the Contractor’s Licensing Board to check whether there have been any complaints filed against a specific contractor, they will find that even the worst contractors have virtually no complaints filed against them.
Another “board” that serves little purpose is the Board of Accountancy. One of their functions is to ensure that each CPA obtains 40 hours of Continuing Professional Education each year. Each CPA must complete a form that lists the CPE taken that year. However, the Board does not require that the CPA submit any proof of completing the courses. Therefore, the unethical CPAs can simply submit false statements because no one verifies their attendance.
There are similar problems with doctors and attorneys and these boards refuse to provide consumers with complaints filed against their members. In fact, most of these boards are there to protect their members, not the consumer. That is why a consumer complaint database will do a better job of controlling unethical businesses.
Government agencies like OSHA, who have done nothing to improve worker safety and who have cost businesses billions of dollars, need to be eliminated. Businesses will have an incentive to ensure workplace safety because their workers compensation costs will go up if they do not.
The government should not have the right to tell businesses what they can charge unless there is a monopoly or collusion. For example, why should the government be allowed to tell businesses that they cannot charge extra for people who use credit cards to purchase products? Credit cards cost the business extra and they should be allowed to add this cost to the bill. Then, allow competition to determine whether this is a good policy or not. When the government limits fees on credit cards the banks raise rates on other products and refuse to issue credit cards to marginal customers. This forces these customers to go to “pay day” loan sharks and to pawn shops who charge much more than the credit card companies.
Federal regulations such as the Sherman Anti-Trust Act would be eliminated. There would still be controls over predatory pricing in which a large company temporarily reduces its prices in order to eliminate smaller competitors. However, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act was designed to protect less efficient and more politically connected companies from more efficient companies. This goes against all free market principles.