FAQs

+ What are your hours of operation?
  • Our hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm., no holidays (for a list of state holidays, please click here).

+ What forms of payment do you accept?
  • Forms of payment include check, money order, or credit cards (cash not accepted). Please make check out to “BCI.”
    * Credit cards are not accepted for mail or third party transactions.
+ What forms of ID do you accept?
  • Valid State Issued Driver's License
  • Valid State Issued Identification Card
  • Valid Passport
+ Are you closed for lunch?
  • The Office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and remains open during lunch hours.
+ Is there parking?
  • There is metered parking along the street.
+ Can I obtain a state background check (“BCI”) at my local police department?
  • Many police departments provide state and national background checks. Please check with your local police department to find out if this is a service they provide.
+ Can a BCI or Fingerprinting be obtained through one of your satellite locations?
  • No. The Office of Attorney General provides background check services only at the main office, located at 150 South Main Street, Providence.
+ Can I get a background check for someone other than myself?
  • Yes, but only with a signed and notarized third party disclaimer form and a photocopy of a valid form of identification. You can download the disclaimer form here.
+ How long is my state background check (BCI) valid?
  • A state background check (BCI) is valid for as long as the employer or agency that is requesting it determines. Please check with the employer or agency as to how often you may be required to get an updated BCI.
+ Will my employer accept a photocopy of my state background check?
  • It is at the discretion of your employer or agency to decide to accept a photocopy of your state background check. Please check with your employer or agency.
+ Can you fax my national background check and fingerprint results to my employer?
  • No. The Office of Attorney General will mail a letter to your employer or appropriate state agency that indicates if the applicant is either “qualified” or “disqualified” as determined by the individual statute.
+ How do I check the reference of a contractor?
  • A contractor doing business in Rhode Island is required to be registered with the Contractors’ Registration Board. Before signing a contract, check with the Contractors’ Registration Board to ensure the contractor is registered and licensed and if there have been claims and/or violations. The information is available by calling (401) 222-1268 or online at www.crb.state.ri.us.

+ How do I file a complaint against a contractor?
+ How do I stop a debt collector from calling?
  • While debt collectors have a right to seek payment, they must follow the guidelines set forth in both the federal and Rhode Island Fair Debt Collection Practices acts. According to the statutes, to stop a debt collector from calling, write a letter to the agency instructing them to cease and desist contacting you by telephone at home or at work and that all future communication be made to you via mail. Send the letter certified and retain a copy for your records.
  • If the debt collector fails to comply with your request, you may file a complaint with our Consumer Protection Unit.
+ At what times are debt collectors allowed to call?
  • A debt collector may contact you seven days a week between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
+ What if I am a victim of identity theft?
  • The first step is to file a complaint with your local police department. Please visit the Consumer Protection section of our website for more information on what to do if you are the victim of identity theft.
+ Does Rhode Island have a Lemon Law?
  • Yes. Rhode Island’s Lemon Law covers any “motor vehicle”, defined as an automobile, truck, motorcycle, or van with a registered gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds. The motor vehicle must be sold, leased or replaced by a dealer or manufacturer after May 11, 1984. For more information about Rhode Island’s Lemon Law, please visit our Consumer Protection page.
+ Is there anything I should consider before making a major purchase?
  • Yes. Read the entire contract before signing it. Please note that the time to ask questions is now. Remember, a contract is a binding, legal document. It is also important to read and understand the warranty protection the product manufacturer offers you.
+ How long do I have to cancel a purchase, for example, a car?
  • The three-day right to cancel applies only to door-to-door sales, traveling shows (i.e. car or boat show) or timeshare sales. You must give a written notice of cancellation to the seller no later than midnight on the third day (fifth day for timeshares) following the signing of the agreement. YOU DO NOT HAVE THREE DAYS TO CANCEL THE PURCHASE OF A VEHICLE.
+ Is a business allowed to place an expiration date upon a gift certificate?
  • No. As of July 8, 2005, no gift certificate or any agreement with respect to such gift certificate sold may contain language suggesting that an expiration date may apply to the gift certificate. Any unused portion of a redeemed gift certificate shall be afforded to the consumer by reissuing the gift certificate for the unused amount or providing cash where the balance due the consumer is less than one dollar.
  • However, these rules do not apply to gift cards or or prepaid or store value cards that are issued by third-party issuers, usable at multiple, unaffiliated merchants or service providers.
+ Is a business required to explain its refund policy?
  • Yes. A retailer may have its own refund policy and it must be posted at the point of display, cash register or store entrance.
+ How long do I have to return an item if no policy is posted?
  • You are entitled to a refund if you have the sales slip and return the item unused within ten (10) business days from the date of purchase.
+ Is a retail store allowed to require a consumer to provide his or her social security number or credit card number as a means of identification when making a purchase by check?
  • No. It is illegal for a retailer of any goods or merchandise to record any credit card or social security number obtained from a purchaser as a means of identification.
+ Is there a better chance of winning a publisher sweepstakes if I make a purchase from the company?
  • It is illegal for sweepstakes promotions to require consumers to buy or pay anything. Anyone not making a purchase (i.e. magazines) must be given the same chance of winning as those who do make a purchase.
+ If I receive an “awards notification” does it mean I am a guaranteed winner?
  • Phone prize offers are common vehicles for scams. Although it is tempting to believe you have actually won something, be careful. Usually, such “deals” end up costing you money in a hidden way. It is not much of a prize when you must purchase something, make a donation or send a bogus tax or processing fee payment in advance to claim the “prize.”
+ Are there any types of telephone solicitations that should immediately send up a red flag?
  • Yes. Consumers should be wary of telemarketers who insist on immediate payment by pre-paid debit cards (known as "Green Dot" cards, wire or overnight delivery. Do not send money to anyone who insists on this type of payment. Legitimate businesses respect the fact that you may need time to consider a purchase.
+ Should I give out personal information over the telephone?
  • When being solicited by phone, do not give out any personal information over the telephone especially your credit card, bank account or social security numbers.
+ Is there anything I should consider before responding to a telephone solicitation?
  • If you are interested, ask the telephone salesperson who offers a product or service to contact you by mail so you can see the offer in writing.
+ What should I consider when faced with high-pressure sales tactics?
  • Feel free to hang up on telephone solicitors who tell you they need an immediate commitment or use other such tactics. Most legitimate businesses do not expect you to make an instant decision.
+ What do I need to know about charities that solicit contributions over the telephone?
  • Whether you are donating to a charity on the telephone, over the Internet or in person, it is important to do your research: don’t be afraid to ask questions about the organization’s track record and how your money will be spent. First and foremost: Verify the legitimacy of the charity. In Rhode Island, all charitable organizations must register with the Department of Business Regulation. In addition, several websites, including www.charitynavigator.org, www.give.org and www.guidestar.org provide helpful information regarding numerous charities. These websites can be a useful starting point for consumers looking to research companies prior to making a donation.
+ Where do I obtain information on tenant rights?