Consumer Protection

Florida Attorney General Files Complaint Against Company for Alleged Technical Support Scam

  • Florida AG Pam Bondi filed a complaint against technology support company Fast Fix 123, LLC and its associated entities (collectively “Fast Fix”) for allegedly scamming consumers into buying unnecessary technical support products and services in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (“FDUTPA”).
  • According to the complaint, Fast Fix allegedly used deceptive internet pop-up advertisements that were disguised as legitimate operating systems warnings to convince consumers to contact Fast Fix and led callers through a sales script that was disguised as a computer diagnostic to mislead the consumers into purchasing costly technical support services and software products.
  • The lawsuit seeks, among other things, full restitution for all injured consumers, civil penalties of $10,000 for each violation of the FDUTPA (or $15,000 for each violation involving a victimized senior citizen), attorneys’ fees, and to permanently enjoin Fast Fix from further violations of the FDUTPA.

Texas Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Construction Company Over Alleged Housing Advertisement Scam

  • Texas AG Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against construction company Briseno Construction and its owners (collectively “Briseno”) for allegedly targeting Spanish-speaking homebuyers with inaccurate advertising, in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practice Act (“DTPA”).
  • According to the petition, Briseno allegedly deceptively advertised that it could build new homes with no financing and no interest when the company required deposits of up to 60% of the home price to begin construction and in some instances, allegedly left consumers with delayed or incomplete homes.
  • The lawsuit seeks, among other things, restitution for affected consumers, civil penalties of up to $20,000 for each violation of the DTPA, attorneys’ fees, and a permanent injunction against Briseno to prevent further violations.

Dietary Supplements

Maine Attorney General, FTC Settle with Supplement Sellers in Deceptive Advertising Lawsuit

  • Maine AG Janet Mills and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced settlements with two health supplement marketers and four individuals, including XXL Impressions, LLC d/b/a Better Health Nutritionals and JR Response (collectively “the Companies”), over allegations that the Companies made false and misleading claims to consumers regarding joint and cognitive health supplements FlexiPrin and CogniPrin in violation of the FTC Act, the Telemarking Sales Rule, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, and the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.
  • According to the complaint, which was filed against a total of three companies and six individuals, the defendants allegedly sold supplements through stage names and false medical credentials and deceptively enrolled consumers into automatic monthly shipments for the products that were difficult to cancel.
  • Under the terms of the consent orders (available via the FTC’s press release), the Companies will, among other things, pay $500,000 of a $6.5 million monetary judgment, which has been suspended based on financial condition. In addition, XXL Impressions, LLC and its owner agreed to a 20-year ban on marketing and selling dietary supplements. The complaint will proceed against the remaining defendants, including Synnergix, LLC, who did not reach an agreement with the FTC and Maine AG.

Education

18 Attorneys General Ask Secretary of Education to Preserve Federal Protections for For-Profit College Students

  • 18 AGs, led by Illinois AG Lisa Madigan, sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education Elisabeth DeVos and Congressional leaders recommending that they preserve federal protections regulating the for-profit school industry.
  • In the letter, the AGs cautioned against the rollback of federal protections, including the Gainful Employment Rule, under which for-profit schools can lose access to federal student loans and grants if students’ annual loan repayments exceed certain income thresholds; the Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule, which will require loan forgiveness if schools utilize deceptive practices to encourage enrollment; and federal oversight of accreditors, which the AGs assert have been negligent in their role of overseeing the industry.

Financial Services

29 Attorneys General File Amicus Brief in Support of Protections Against Abusive Debt Buyers

  • 29 AGs, led by Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., arguing that debt buyers who regularly attempt to collect debt should be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”).
  • In the amicus brief, the AGs assert that a company which regularly purchases overdue debts and attempts to collect the debts is a “debt collector” and should adhere to the FDCPA, which aims to protect consumers from harassment and abusive debt-collection practices by debt collectors. The AGs also assert that abusive debt-collection practices result in irreparable injuries to consumers, their families and their communities.

Health Care

New York Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Health Care Provider over Denial of Claims for Infusion Services

  • New York AG Eric Schneiderman reached a settlement with Oxford Health Insurance, Inc. and Oxford Health Plans (collectively “Oxford”) to resolve allegations that the company improperly denied coverage for infusion services.
  • According to AG Schneiderman, Oxford allegedly improperly denied coverage for thousands of infusion service claims, supplies, and associated nursing visits, stemming from a benefit configuration error in its administrative systems.
  • According to the settlement, Oxford will mail letters to affected members to arrange refunds for the services, reexamine all recent infusion claims, and pay $35,000 to the state.

State AGs in the News

Arkansas Attorney General Elected as Vice Chairwoman of RAGA

  • The Republican Attorneys General Association named Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge as its new Vice Chairwoman, succeeding former Vice Chairman Patrick Morrisey, who, as we previously reported, was named Chairman of RAGA following former AG Luther Strange’s appointment to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.
  • AG Rutledge was first elected as Arkansas AG in 2014. Prior to her election as AG, she was in private practice in Little Rock and had previously served as Counsel for the Republican National Committee.