Consumer Protection Quarterly Newsletter

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Consumer Protection Newsletter

Summer 2019

Covered in this Edition: 

Attorney General Herring Sues Roanoke Robocallers


Herring Secures $9.29 Million in Debt Relief for Nearly 1,000 Virginia Students

Antitrust Unit Sues to Block T-Mobile and Sprint Megamerger


Lawsuit Filed Against 20 Drug Makers and 15 Executives for Conspiracy to Fix Prices on More Than 100 Generic Drugs


Attorney General Herring Fights Rollback of Commonsense Protections for Payday Loan Borrowers


Top 10 Consumer Complaints


Judgment for Nearly $40,000 Obtained Against Unlicensed Contractor


More than $300 Million Recovered by Consumer Protection Section


July is Military Consumer Month


July is Military Consumer Month

Attorney General Herring joins the Federal Trade Commission and other consumer protection agencies in recognizing July as Military Consumer Month. General Herring created the Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide to help Virginia servicemembers, military families, and veterans understand the unique legal protections, rights, and resources available to them under the law.  Check out the Guide here . . .

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Attorney General Herring Sues Roanoke Robocallers

On June 24, Attorney General Herring filed a lawsuit against two Roanoke-based telemarketing companies, Adventis, Inc. and Skyline Metrics, LLC, and Roanoke resident Bryant Cass, for illegal robocalling and deceptive sales practices. The Complaint, filed in federal court in Roanoke, alleges that Mr. Cass and his companies made hundreds of thousands of unsolicited robocalls nationwide in violation of state and federal laws. The automated calls pitched car-selling services to people who listed their cars for sale on Craigslist, Autotrader.com, or similar sites. The suit was announced as part of “Operation Call it Quits,” a coordinated federal and state law enforcement crackdown on robocallers and illegal telemarketers.  Read more about the suit here

Herring Secures $9.29 Million in Debt Relief for Nearly 1,000 Virginia Students

Attorney General Herring recently announced that his Predatory Lending Unit secured $9.29 million in debt relief for nearly 1,000 former ITT Tech students in Virginia as part of a 43-state multistate settlement. The settlement is with Student CU Connect CUSO, LLC, which offered loans to finance students’ tuition at ITT Tech, the failed for-profit college. ITT filed bankruptcy in 2016 amid investigations by State Attorneys General and following action by the U.S. Department of Education to restrict ITT’s access to federal student aid. Read more about these enforcement actions here

Antitrust Unit Sues to Block T-Mobile and Sprint Megamerger

On June 11, Attorney General Herring’s Antitrust Unit filed suit to block the proposed merger of telecom giants T-Mobile and Sprint. The Complaint alleges that the merger of two of the four largest national mobile network operators will drive up prices for mobile phone services and deprive consumers of the benefits of competition. In bringing the suit, it was determined that any theoretical benefits of the merger would be outweighed by the immediate harm to consumers, including a significant impact on low income customers, likely elimination of wireless retail jobs, and reduced innovation and competition. Read more about the suit to block the merger here...

Lawsuit Filed Against 20 Drug Makers and 15 Executives for Conspiracy to Fix Prices on More Than 100 Generic Drugs

Attorney General Herring’s Antitrust Unit also filed a wide-ranging lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers alleging a broad conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition and unreasonably restrain trade for more than 100 different generic drugs. The lawsuit also names 15 individual senior executive defendants at the heart of the conspiracy who were responsible for sales, marketing, pricing, and operations. The drugs at issue account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States, and the alleged schemes increased prescription drug prices for individuals, private insurers, and programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Review slides from the presentation here

Attorney General Herring Fights Rollback of Commonsense Protections for Payday Loan Borrowers

Attorney General Herring joined a coalition of other state attorneys general opposing the Trump administration’s efforts to eliminate rules protecting consumers from abusive payday and vehicle title loans. The states filed an official comment letter with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) opposing its proposed repeal of rules adopted in 2017 to protect consumers from excessive interest rates and other predatory practices that trap consumers in cycles of debt, while preserving access to less-risky types of short-term credit.  Read more about the comment letter sent to the CFPB here...

Top 10 Consumer Complaints

Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section serves as the central clearinghouse in Virginia for consumer complaints. In 2018, the Section received approximately 4,000 complaints. Here are the Top 10 complaint categories for 2018:
1.  Auto Sales
2.  Credit, Loans & Debt Collection
3.  Internet Sales & Service
4.  Home Improvement, Service & Repair
5.  Auto Service & Repair
6.  Direct Sales
7.  Warranties
8.  Medical/Health Professions
9.  Tax & Other Professional Services
10. Timeshares 

 

Judgment for Nearly $40,000 Obtained Against Unlicensed Contractor

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section obtained a permanent injunction and final judgment against Ricky Harmon Pettit for violating the Virginia Consumer Protection Act by providing unlicensed contractor work in consumers’ homes in Central and Northern Virginia. The Complaint alleged that Pettit took money from consumers before performing renovation services and never completed the work. The Page County Circuit Court ordered Pettit to pay $20,336.39 for restitution to three consumers, $15,000 for civil penalties, and $3,500 to the Commonwealth for attorneys’ fees and expenses.  Read more about the judgment here . . .

 

 

More than $300 Million Recovered by Consumer Protection Section

Since 2014, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $301 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. These recoveries include restitution for consumers, debt relief for borrowers, and civil penalties and attorneys’ fees for the Commonwealth.

 

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