Virginia Tightens Consumer Protection Laws

As the federal government continues assault on consumer protections and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia has completed a reorganization and expansion of its Consumer Protection Section. An announcement of the completion stated that the enhanced consumer protection operations will “further the OAG’s mission to protect Virginia consumers from abusive, deceptive, predatory, or illegal business practices.”

The reorganization is designed to aggressively enforce Virginia’s consumer protection laws, help resolve complaints and disputes, and provide consumer education to prevent Virginia residents from being victimized by fraud, scams, or illegal or abusive business practices.
“We’re going to use every tool at our disposal from mediation to investigation all the way up to legal action to make sure that everyone is playing by the rules and respecting the rights of Virginia consumers, because a strong consumer protection operation is good for Virginians and for all the Virginia businesses who play by the rules, follow the law, and treat their customers with respect,” said AG Mark R. Herring in a statement. “Whether it’s a billing dispute that might only affect one customer, or a large corporate merger that could drive up prices for millions of Virginians, I want Virginians to know we’ve got their back and we’re here to help.”
Virginia’s Consumer Protection Section is composed of specialist units, beginning with a first stop at the Counseling, Intake, and Referral Unit, which is the central clearinghouse for consumer complaints, and operates the state’s consumer protection hotline. The other units include:
  • Dispute Resolution Unit
  • Predatory Lending Unit
  • Charitable Solicitations and Deceptive Conduct Unit
  • Antitrust Unit
The reorganization added the unit that specifically focuses on predatory lending. Said AG Herring, “Too many Virginians seek out short-term loans that snag them in a debt trap they can’t get out of, whether it is a car title, payday, or open-ended loan. My team and I are going to aggressively enforce Virginia’s consumer finance statues, even as we push for stronger laws to protect Virginians from these predatory loans that are often little more than financial quicksand.”
 For more information, visit http://ag.virginia.gov/consumer-protection/index.php.
Craig Follis has extensive experience in litigation, negotiating and settling suits, and providing legal opinions on liability and insurance coverage. You can reach him at (888) 703-0109 or via email at cfollis@lawyersva.com.

 

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