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ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING HIGHLIGHTS CONSUMER PROTECTION RESOURCES AS NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK BEGINS
~ Herring's enhanced consumer protection operation has returned hundreds of millions to consumers and taxpayers, cracked down on abusive, deceptive, predatory, and illegal business practices ~
RICHMOND —As National Consumer Protection Week gets underway, Attorney General Mark R. Herring is highlighting the resources available through his Consumer Protection Section to protect Virginians from being exploited by abusive, deceptive, predatory, or illegal business practices. Since 2014, Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section has recovered approximately $356 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has also transferred more than $59 million to the Commonwealth's General Fund. Following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016, the OAG's Consumer Protection Section has been even more effective in fighting for the rights of Virginians.
"I am incredibly proud of the work my Consumer Protection Section has done and continues to do to return the millions of dollars Virginia consumers have lost to shady debt collectors, predatory lenders, and other bad actors who try to skirt the law,” said Attorney General Herring. "As Attorney General, a top priority of mine will always be to ensure that Virginia consumers have all the information and tools they need to make smart decisions and protect themselves.”
The Virginia Attorney General has significant consumer responsibilities as the primary investigator and enforcer of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. In 2016, Attorney General Herring completed a major restructuring and expansion of his Consumer Protection Section to ensure it aggressively enforces Virginia's consumer protection laws, provides exceptional customer service in resolving complaints and disputes, and provides robust consumer education to keep Virginians from being victimized by fraud, scams, or illegal or abusive business practices.
Virginians who have a question, concern, or complaint about a consumer matter should contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section:
- By phone: (800) 552-9963
- By email:
- Online Complaint Form
- Online Contact Form
The OAG Consumer Protection Section is organized into five Units and an investigative team that work collaboratively to protect the interests of Virginia consumers:
Dispute Resolution Unit, which offers dispute resolution services to individual consumers and businesses to assist them in resolving consumer complaints. The Dispute Resolution Unit can serve as a neutral facilitator and point of contact between consumers and businesses as all parties voluntarily work towards a mutually agreeable outcome. Since 2014, the Dispute Resolution Unit and Section investigators have resolved or closed approximately 25,000 consumer complaints and recovered over $7 million for consumers.
Counseling, Intake, and Referral Unit, which serves as the central clearinghouse in Virginia for the receipt, evaluation, and referral of consumer complaints, and operates the state's consumer protection hotline. Since 2014, the Counseling, Intake, and Referral Unit has received more than 190,000 calls through the consumer complaint hotline and received approximately 29,000 written consumer complaints and approximately 22,500 emails and letters.
Predatory Lending Unit, which is a first-of-its-kind unit to investigate and prosecute suspected violations of state and federal consumer lending statutes, including laws concerning payday loans, title loans, consumer finance loans, student loans, mortgage loans, and more.
Charitable Solicitations and Deceptive Conduct Unit, which investigates and prosecutes suspected violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act ("VCPA”), the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions law, and other state and federal consumer protection laws.
Antitrust Unit, which investigates and prosecutes suspected violations of state and federal antitrust laws, including large mergers that could hurt consumers through reduced competition and choice.
The reorganization also included the creation of a user-friendly website and a more useful consumer complaint database that allows users to vet businesses by searching company name, industry, or complaint topic within a specified geographic area. Search results now include the date of the filed complaint, the nature of the complaint, and a description of the resolution, if available.
Below are the top ten complaints that Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section received during 2020:
- Automotive Sales
- Credit, Loans & Debt Collection
- Internet Sales & Service
- Home Improvement, Service, & Repair
- Warranties & Rebates
- Automotive Service & Repair
- Direct Sales & Scams
- Retail Stores
- Medical/Health Professions
- Price Gouging
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