Consumer Protection Quarterly Newsletter

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Consumer Protection Newsletter

Spring 2021 

Covered in this Edition: 

 

Attorney General Herring Secures More Than $180,000 in Consumer Refunds for COVID-Related Event Cancellations


Herring Also Obtains Refunds for Consumers from Travel Company for COVID-Related Vacation Package Cancellations


Attorney General Herring Fights Unlawful Sales of Fake Vaccination Cards


Herring Announces Price Gouging Protections Following Colonial Pipeline Shutdown


Attorney General Successfully Urges Congress to Rescind Proposal that Would Harm Borrowers


Call Our Consumer Protection Hotline


Virginia Joins $188.6 Million Settlement with Boston Scientific Corporation


Herring Urges Consumers to be Wary of Scams Targeting Immigrants


More Than $32.3 Million Recovered in 2020


Call Our Consumer Protection Hotline

Our telephone counselors are available to assist you with consumer questions. During 2020, we received more than 27,500 telephone calls. If you are unable to find the answer to your question on our website, or if you need other assistance with a consumer protection matter, please call our Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-552-9963 if calling from Virginia, or 804-786-2042 if calling from the Richmond area or from outside Virginia. Our business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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Attorney General Herring Secures More Than $180,000 in Consumer Refunds for COVID-Related Event Cancellations

Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section secured a settlement with the online ticket reseller Ryadd, Inc. that operates TicketsOnSale.com to resolve claims that the business violated consumer protection laws by failing to honor its “100% Buyer Guarantee” for events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The settlement includes verification of $183,450.67 in refunds made during the Attorney General’s investigation and settlement negotiations, a claims process for certain consumers who file complaints within 30 days of court approval of the settlement, the extension of a deadline for use of 120% credits offered by the company in response to the pandemic, and civil penalties and attorneys’ fees. Read more about the settlement here

Herring Also Obtains Refunds for Consumers from Travel Company for COVID-Related Vacation Package Cancellations    

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section also reached a settlement with Key Tours International Inc. to resolve claims that it failed to honor the terms of its refunds in contracts with consumers who purchased vacation packages that ultimately were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The settlement includes $12,838.15 in restitution, a claims process for certain consumers who file complaints within 180 days of court approval of the settlement, and civil penalties and attorneys’ fees. Read more about the settlement here

Attorney General Herring Fights Unlawful Sales of Fake Vaccination Cards

Attorney General Herring recently obtained two separate settlements regarding alleged violations of the Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act during the state of emergency that was declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In one matter, the Attorney General alleged that Joule Wellness Pharmacy charged unconscionable prices for rubbing alcohol. Joule Wellness Pharmacy agreed to cease any price gouging practices, pay $2,500 in civil penalties and attorneys’ fees, and disgorge all profits from the offending sales. Read more about the Joule Wellness Pharmacy settlement here. In the other matter, Herring alleged that Rio Medical Supplies charged unconscionable prices for hand sanitizer. Rio Medical Supplies agreed to cease any price gouging practices, pay $2,500 in civil penalties and attorneys’ fees, and disgorge all profits from the offending sales. Read more about the Rio Medical Supplies settlement here

Herring Announces Price Gouging Protections Following Colonial Pipeline Shutdown

On May 12, 2021, Attorney General Herring announced that Virginia’s anti-price gouging statute was activated upon Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency due to the Colonial Pipeline ransomeware attack that disrupted gasoline supply throughout the Commonwealth. The law is designed to protect consumers from paying exorbitant prices for necessities during an emergency. Read more about the law and reporting suspected violations here

Attorney General Successfully Urges Congress to Rescind Proposal that Would Harm Borrowers

In April, Attorney General Herring joined a bipartisan coalition of 25 attorneys general in urging Congress to use the Congressional Review Act to rescind the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s True Lender Rule that would exempt payday and other high-cost lenders from state usury laws. State usury laws prevent predatory lenders from taking advantage of consumers by limiting the interest rates that can be charged on loans. Congress subsequently voted to repeal the rule and President Biden signed the repeal in June. Read more about the letter Herring and his colleagues sent to Congress here

Virginia Joins $188.6 Million Settlement with Boston Scientific Corporation

Attorney General Herring, along with 46 other states and the District of Columbia, reached a $188.6 million settlement with Boston Scientific Corporation to resolve allegations that it deceptively marketed transvaginal surgical mesh devices to patients. Herring and his colleagues alleged that the company misrepresented the safety of these products by failing to disclose the full range of potential serious and irreversible complications caused by mesh, including chronic pain, voiding dysfunction, and new onset of incontinence. The settlement includes comprehensive injunctive relief. Virginia’s share of the settlement is $3,734,173. Read more about the settlement here


 


 


 


Herring Urges Consumers to be Wary of Scams Targeting Immigrants

Attorney General Herring warned Virginians about scammers who are unnecessarily attempting to charge hundreds of dollars to help immigrants with applying for driver’s licenses and driver privilege cards through the DMV. Herring’s warning followed reports of scammers using social media to prey on immigrants living in the Commonwealth who may be unsure about or uncomfortable with the application process, but who need help obtaining a driving credential. Read more about the scam here

 

More Than $32.3 Million Recovered in 2020

During 2020, the Consumer Protection Section recovered more than $32.3 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. These sums include restitution and loan forgiveness for consumers, and civil penalties and attorneys’ fees paid to the Commonwealth.
 
 
 
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