The annual report includes details of nearly $50 million paid by Volkswagen to Idaho customers, including $12 million in restitution payments
(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has released his latest Consumer Protection Division (CPD) report. The annual summary represents a detailed look at the division’s work between July 2016 and June 2017. Most notably, the report includes the latest figures on Volkswagen’s payouts to Idaho customers after the company settled allegations that it violated consumer protection laws by misrepresenting the emissions outputs of certain vehicle models. To date, Volkswagen has paid $49,148,753 to nearly 2500 Idaho customers, which includes reimbursement for vehicles as well as restitution. Restitution payments total $12 million.
The division also recorded more than 13,600 contacts with consumers, recovered a record amount of consumer restitution, participated in a multistate settlement with Moody’s that resulted in a nearly $7.5 million payment to the State of Idaho, and conducted a thorough review of a proposed $109 million sale of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston.
“The work of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division takes on many forms and is essential to protecting Idaho consumers and maintaining fairness in the marketplace,” Wasden says. “It’s important that Idahoans know we’re here for them as a consumer resource and that unscrupulous characters know we’re here in case they cross a line.”
During Fiscal Year 2017, CPD recovered a record $15 million in restitution and other consumer recoveries, which represents $18.31 for each tax dollar appropriated for consumer operations during the fiscal year. The results were boosted by the Volkswagen payouts. Without those payments included, CPD still recovered more than $3 million. That represents an increase over FY 2016 totals.
In Fiscal Year 2017, Idaho received nearly $23 million in payments tied to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. The agreement resolved national tobacco litigation between states and tobacco companies. CPD attorneys continue to defend those annual payments from tobacco industry attack, Wasden says. Since 1998, tobacco companies have paid Idaho more than $450 million.
The report also shows that CPD attorneys and staff mediated 614 complaints, recorded 13,650 contacts with consumers and recovered and deposited more than $12.25 million in civil penalties, fees and costs into the consumer protection account.
Complaints about motor vehicles again led the list of top 10 complaints. Other high-ranking categories include landlord-tenant disputes, construction and contractor complaints and healthcare-related matters. CPD logged a total of 792 complaints.
In other report highlights, the division:
- entered into an agreement with Western Union to require the company’s implementation of a consumer fraud-prevention program;
- reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target and 45 other states over the company’s 2013 data breach;
- recovered $430,000 from Johnson and Johnson for misrepresenting the quality of certain consumer drugs; and
- completed its oversight of St. Luke’s Health System’s divestiture of Saltzer Medical Group.