Bureau AG’s consumer protection section has recovered $ 403 million since 2014

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The Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Section has clawed back more than $ 403 million in consumer relief and offender payments since the start of Mark Herring’s first term in 2014.

“My Consumer Protection Section continues to do an incredible job of helping return the hundreds of millions of dollars Virginians have lost to predatory lenders, shady debt collectors and other shady bad actors and businesses. who are trying to get around the law, ”Attorney General Mark Herring said. . “One of my top priorities as Attorney General will always be making sure consumers in Virginia are protected and providing them with the information and tools they need to make good decisions and protect themselves. and their families. ”

Here’s a breakdown of the $ 403 million:

  • $ 73,989,438 in civil penalties and legal fees recovered
  • $ 69,941,796 in restitution recovered
  • $ 259,272,521 in collection forgiveness or debt forgiveness

The Virginia Attorney General has important consumer responsibilities as the lead investigator and executor of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. In 2016, Herring achieved a significant restructuring and extension of its consumer protection section to ensure it aggressively enforces Virginia consumer protection laws, provides exceptional customer service in resolving complaints and disputes, and provides solid consumer education to prevent Virginians from falling victim to fraud, scams or illegal or abusive business practices.

Virginians who have a question, concern or complaint about a drinking issue should contact the Consumer Protection Section:

the Consumer Protection Section is organized into five units and an investigative team that work together to protect the interests of Virginia consumers:

  • Dispute Resolution Unit, which provides dispute resolution services to individuals and businesses to help them resolve 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 acceptable outcome. Since 2014, investigators from the Dispute Resolution Unit and Section have resolved or closed approximately 25,000 consumer complaints and recovered more than $ 7 million for consumers.
  • Advice, reception and referral unit, which serves as a central clearinghouse in Virginia for the receipt, assessment, and referral of consumer complaints, and operates the state’s consumer protection hotline. Since 2014, the Counseling, Intake and Referral Unit has received over 195,500 calls through the Consumer Complaints Hotline and received approximately 30,500 written consumer complaints and approximately 22,900 emails and letters.
  • Predatory Lending Unit, which is a one-of-a-kind unit to investigate and prosecute alleged violations of state and federal consumer lending laws, including laws regarding payday lending, securities lending, consumer lending , student loans, mortgages, etc.
  • Charitable Solicitation and Deceptive Conduct Unit, which investigates and prosecutes alleged violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, the Virginia Solicitation for Contributions Act, and other federal and state consumer protection laws.
  • Antitrust Unit, which investigates and prosecutes alleged violations of state and federal antitrust laws, including large mergers that could harm consumers by reducing competition and choice.

The reorganization also included the creation of a user-friendly website and one more useful consumer complaints database which allows users to monitor businesses by searching for business name, industry or complaint subject in a specified geographic area.

Search results now include the date of the complaint filed, the nature of the complaint, and a description of the resolution, if available.

About Kristopher Harris

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