After a violation is issued, a hearing is scheduled at the Office of Consumer Affairs. The respondent appears at the hearing, with or without legal counsel and, where permitted at the discretion of the hearing officer, other relevant parties that can offer evidence or explanation on behalf of the respondent. The complaining consumer is not present at the hearing. The hearing officer keeps the record of the hearing and no verbatim recording is conducted in the hearing room. The consumer complaint is presented by the Investigator from the Office assigned to the complaint. After the presentation of the complaint by the Investigator, the respondent then offers evidence to refute or mitigate the facts presented. The Investigator also explains why a violation was issued and the legal basis of the violation.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer weighs the evidence and credibility of the arguments and has several options for a decision. The hearing officer will decide whether a legal violation has occurred, whether to assess a fine and the amount, memorialize any settlement agreements that may have been concluded during the hearing, order restitution by a respondent to redress a grievance, or order the suspension of a license or registration.