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Attorney General of Virginia - Consumer Protection Section
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Consumer Protection Newsletter

March, 2017

This is the first issue of Attorney General Mark Herring's Consumer Protection Newsletter.  It is designed with you in mind.  We want to help keep you informed about the work of the Consumer Protection Section and provide you with news you can use.  We will be bringing you news releases, scam alerts, information about recent cases, and tips and information to help you be a more savvy consumer. 
To subscribe to our Consumer Newsletter, simply click here

About the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section

Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section enforces state and federal laws designed to protect consumers from fraud, deception, and misrepresentation. The Section serves as the central clearinghouse in Virginia for consumer complaints. Complaints are assigned for handling within the Section or referred to the appropriate local, state, or federal agency having jurisdiction. When there is a pattern or practice of deceptive conduct in violation of one of our statutes, the Attorney General is authorized to take action to stop the unlawful conduct and, where appropriate, seek refunds for consumers. Attorney General Herring recently completed an expansion and reorganization of the Consumer Protection Section.  Read more about the reorganization here. 

Filing a Consumer Complaint

We handle a variety of consumer complaints against businesses operating in Virginia, but not all complaints fall within our jurisdiction. Before filing a complaint with our office you can use our Agency Search feature to find the right agency to handle your complaint.

If you have experienced a problem with a business or have an issue that you need help resolving, we are here to try to help you.  The best place to start is by visiting our web site: www.ag.virginia.gov.  There you will find a lot of information to guide you in filing your complaint with the right agency - our office or another appropriate local, state or federal agency. 

The most efficient way to file your complaint with our office is by filling out our online complaint form which can be accessed by clicking on our web site link above and choosing the Consumer Protection link. 

If after visiting our web site you still have questions about how or where to file your complaint, please contact our Consumer Protection Hotline.

Our telephone counselors are there to help you.  Call one of the numbers below to speak with one of our telephone counselors:
 
1-800-552-9963 – (within Virginia)
(804) 786-2042 (in the Richmond area or outside VA) 

Covered in this Edition: 

Tips on Buying a Used Car


About the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section
Filing a Consumer Complaint
Attorney General Herring Reaches Settlement with Online Lender CashCall
Virginia Leads Effort to Secure Debt Relief for Veterans
Volkswagen Emissions Fraud Settlement Provides Millions in Compensation to Virginia and VW Owners
Subscribe to receive our OAG Scam Alert newsletter to stay on top of all the latest scam information in Virginia.

Tips on Buying a Used Car

We receive a lot of complaints about used car purchases.
Please keep these tips in mind when buying a used car:

  • Examine the car using an inspection checklist. You can find checklists in car magazines or books or online.
  • Test drive the car under different road conditions.
  • Ask for the car's maintenance record.
  • Talk to the previous owner.
  • Hire a mechanic to inspect the car.
  • Determine the value of the vehicle before you negotiate the purchase price.
You can use these guides:
National Automobile Dealer's Association Guides - www.nadaguides.com
Edmunds - www.edmunds.com
Kelley Blue Book - www.kbb.com
  • Research repair frequency and maintenance cost for the make and model.
  • Research a particular vehicle's history.
A couple of sites to do this are:
Dept. of Justice's National Motor Vehicle Title Information System - www.vehiclehistory.gov
CARFAX - www.carfax.com
  • Check out the dealer's complaint history.
These sites will provide info on consumer complaints:
Your local Better Business Bureau - www.bbb.org
The Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board - www.mvdb.virginia.gov
877-270-0203 or 804-367-1100
The Virginia Attorney General's Office - www.ag.virginia.gov
800-552-9963 or 804-786-2042

Attorney General Herring Reaches Settlement with Online Lender CashCall.

Virginia consumers will receive $15.335 million in restitution and debt relief as part of a settlement with CashCall, Inc. and its President/CEO J. Paul Reddam.  Attorney General Herring’s Complaint alleged that CashCall used a “rent-a-tribe” scheme to deceive consumers and collect illegal interest of up to 230% on online loans made in amounts of between $700 and $10,000.  Read more about the settlement and allegations here. 

Virginia Leads Effort to Secure $96 Million in Debt Relief, Compensation for Veterans and Other Consumers Harmed by USA Discounters

Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section successfully led the negotiation of a settlement between 49 states plus the District of Columbia and retailer USA Discounters to resolve the states' claims of deceptive trade practices by the company against its customer base of largely military families and veterans. The settlement will result in nearly $100 million of forgiven debt and restitution nationwide, including more than $27.4 million to more than 14,000 Virginia consumers. This was the largest multistate consumer settlement ever led by Virginia.  Read more about the settlement...

Volkswagen Emissions Fraud Settlement Provides Millions in Compensation to Virginia and VW Owners

Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section joined a multistate settlement with Volkswagen Auto Group of America, Inc. resolving the Commonwealth’s claims that Volkswagen’s installation of emission defeat devices in certain vehicles violated state consumer protection laws. Virginia will receive more than $100 million under the settlement, including more than $20 million that has been paid for consumer protection civil penalties. Qualified VW owners will receive tens of millions more in direct compensation. Read more about the settlement and relief for consumers here . . .

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