AG’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Saved Consumers More Than $210 Million in 2022
Looking to protect yourself from fraud, identity theft, and scams? Wondering about the best way to improve your credit, shop for a used car, or how to maximize your security online?
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has information for you during National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) — March 5 – 11, 2023 — and any time of the year. But during NCPW government agencies, consumer protection groups, and organizations work together to highlight and share information about consumer rights and help people learn to spot, report, and avoid scams. The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General will share consumer protection tips on social media throughout the week, including scam prevention for senior citizens, what to look for when hiring a home contractor, tips on purchasing a used car, common mistakes when leasing an apartment, and an overview of the Office’s Health Care Section.
“Protecting Pennsylvania consumers from being victimized by scam artists is a top priority of our Office,” said Acting Attorney General Michelle A. Henry. “Whether that scam originates on the street corner or in a corporate board room, our staff will investigate and take action to defend affected consumers. Last year, we saved Pennsylvanians more than $210 million—and we’re committed to fighting for them, securing restitution, and protecting their hard-earned dollars.”
In 2022, the Office of Attorney General saved consumers more than $9 million through mediation efforts. The Bureau of Consumer Protection also saved consumers more than $203 million through legal actions in 2022.
If you believe you are a victim of a scam, you can file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Protection in a variety of ways:
- Online here: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/consumer-complaint/
- By calling the hotline: 1-800-441-2555
- By emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Acting Attorney General Henry noted a few of the consumer protection actions that the Office of Attorney General has taken in the past year:
- A major settlement with Navient, one of the nation’s largest student loan servicers, to resolve allegations of widespread unfair, deceptive, and abusive student loan servicing practices and abuses in originating predatory student loans. This settlement netted $1.7 billion in debt cancellation and $95 million in restitution; $70 million for Pennsylvania borrowers
- A $1.6 million settlement with CashPoint, a.k.a. Dominion Management of Delaware, a now defunct auto title loan business. CashPoint made thousands of unlawful loans to Pennsylvanians at annual interest rates exceeding 200%. This settlement refunded more than $1.6 million in unlawful interest charges and many consumers received debt cancellation at a total of $3.2 million.
- A $2.58 million judgment against Delta Auto Protect, an auto warranty company. Consumers were led to believe when they signed a contract with Delta future vehicle repairs would be covered. Consumers paid $1000-$3000 in premiums to begin coverage. However, when the consumers later made claims for covered repairs, Delta failed to honor their end of the contract. The court order set aside more than $1.7 million for customer restitution.
- A $2.2 million settlement with former used-car dealership, Carhop. Carhop operated two “buy here, pay here” dealerships in Carnegie and in Monroeville. “Buy here, pay here” dealerships operate as both the seller and lender by offering in-house financing. Most of Carhop’s consumers were credit-challenged. Under the settlement, the $2.2 million was used to provide debt relief for current and former customers.
Go to https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/ for more information. Also, visit www.ftc.gov/ncpw to learn how to get free consumer education materials and read the latest from consumer protection experts.
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