Consumer Protection Quarterly Newsletter

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Consumer Protection Newsletter

Spring 2020

Covered in this Edition: 

Attorney General Herring Sends Warning Letters to Businesses Accused of Price Gouging During Pandemic


Consumers Should Stay Wary of COVID-19 Scams 


Roanoke Robocallers Will Pay $300,000 to Consumer Victims


Antitrust Unit Sues Martin Shkreli and Vyera Pharmaceuticals for Anitcompetitive Conduct Regarding Daraprim


$550 Million Settlement with Nation's Largest Subprime Auto Financing Company


Attorney General Herring Sues 26 Drug Makers and 10 Executives for Conspiracy to Fix Prices on More Than 80 Generic Drugs


Accelerated Effective Date for Consumer Lending Reforms 


Attorney General Herring Obtains Permanent Injunction Against VA Certificate Service, LLC 


More than $49.7 Million Recovered in 2019


Call Our Consumer Protection Hotline 


More Than $49.7 Million Recovered in 2019

During 2019, the Consumer Protection Section recovered more than $49.7 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators.  These sums include restitution and loan forgiveness for consumers, and civil penalties and attorney fees paid to the Commonwealth.
 

 

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Attorney General Herring Sends Warning Letters to Businesses Accused of Price Gouging During Pandemic

The declaration of a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic triggered Virginia’s anti-price gouging statutes that are designed to protect consumers from paying exorbitant prices for necessary goods and services during an emergency. The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section has sent approximately 130 warning letters to businesses about which Virginians have complained. The letters inform the businesses that they are the subject of a price gouging complaint, ask for documentation pertaining to the complaint, and advise the businesses to immediately stop any illegal price gouging practices. Read more about the warning letters here... 

 

Consumers Should Stay Wary of COVID-19 Scams

Attorney General Herring has continued to warn Virginians to watch out for COVID-19-related scams including federal stimulus related scams, cyber scams, telephone and text messaging scams, counterfeit product offers, bogus door-to-door tests and virus-related products, and phony charity donation requests. Read more about the scams and tips to avoid becoming a victim here... 

Roanoke Robocallers Will Pay $300,000 to Consumer Victims

Attorney General Herring reached a settlement with two Roanoke-based telemarketing companies, and Roanoke resident Bryant Cass, for illegal robocalling and deceptive sales practices. The Consumer Protection Section filed suit against the companies and Cass last year, alleging they made hundreds of thousands of unsolicited robocalls nationwide to pitch car selling services to people who listed cars for sale on Craigslist, Autotrader.com, or similar sites. The defendants will pay $300,000 in restitution to consumers. Cass is banned from engaging or participating in telephone solicitations for five years and is permanently banned from illegal telemarketing and robocalling. Read more about the settlement here...

 

Antitrust Unit Sues Martin Shkreli and Vyera Pharmaceuticals for Anticompetitive Conduct Regarding Daraprim

Attorney General Herring’s Antitrust Unit joined a multistate lawsuit filed earlier this year against Vyera Pharmaceuticals and two of its former CEOs, including Martin Shkreli, for stifling competition to protect the exorbitant, monopolistic pricing of the drug Daraprim. Daraprim (pyrimethamine) is used to treat the parasitic disease toxoplasmosis, and despite Vyera Pharmaceuticals being the only FDA-approved source of the medication, Shkreli and Vyera raised the price of the drug by more than 4,000 percent overnight to $750 per pill, after purchasing the rights to Daraprim in August 2015. Read more about the suit here... 

 

$550 Million Settlement with Nation’s Largest Subprime Auto Financing Company

Attorney General Herring announced a multistate settlement with Santander Consumer USA Inc. (Santander) that includes at least $550 million in relief for consumers, with at least $9 million for Virginians. The settlement resolves allegations that Santander violated consumer protection laws by exposing subprime consumers to unnecessarily high levels of risk and knowingly placing these consumers into auto loans with a high probability of default. Under the settlement, Santander is required to provide monetary relief to consumers and also is required to factor a consumer’s ability to pay the loan into its underwriting. Read more about the settlement here... 

 

Attorney General Herring Sues 26 Drug Makers and 10 Executives for Conspiracy to Fix Prices on More Than 80 Generic Drugs

The Attorney General’s Antitrust Unit filed a third lawsuit stemming from an ongoing antitrust investigation into a widespread conspiracy by generic drug manufacturers to artificially inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition, and unreasonably restrain trade for generic drugs sold across the United States. This new Complaint focuses on 80 topical generic drugs that account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States. The Complaint names 26 corporate defendants and 10 individual defendants. The lawsuit seeks disgorgement, civil penalties, and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market. Read more about the suit here... 

 

Accelerated Effective Date for Consumer Lending Reforms

Following Attorney General Herring’s letter to Governor Northam asking for an accelerated effective date for important comprehensive reforms aimed at curbing predatory lending practices, the General Assembly moved the effective date for these reforms up to January 2021. In his letter, the Attorney General asked that the effective dates for the consumer lending legislation be moved earlier because of the need to better protect Virginians during the difficult financial times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about the legislation and Attorney General Herring’s letter here... 

 

Attorney General Herring Obtains Permanent Injunction Against VA Certificate Service, LLC

The Consumer Protection Section recently obtained a permanent injunction against VA Certificate Service, LLC (VACS) that prohibits the business from sending mailers that appear to originate from a government source and from misleading individuals with respect to filing requirements and the status of filings in Virginia.  Attorney General Herring previously sued VACS for sending allegedly deceptive mailings to numerous Virginia businesses. VACS purportedly offered services for nearly ten times the price that the same service would cost from the State Corporation Commission. The mailers also gave the false impression that they came from an official state agency. Read more about the suit here...

 

Call Our Consumer Protection Hotline

Our telephone counselors are available to assist you with consumer questions. During 2019, we received more than 23,000 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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