(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has released the latest annual report from his office’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD). The summary represents a detailed look at the division’s work between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.
The division recorded more than 13,000 contacts with consumers, mediated 883 complaints, recovered more than $7.6 million in consumer restitution and deposited more than $1.78 million in civil penalties, fees and costs into the state’s consumer protection account. In addition, the division completed 12 enforcement actions concerning unfair competition, false advertising, charitable solicitations and other consumer-related issues. The CPD also facilitated the transfer of $23 million in charitable trust funds from Ascension Health to the newly-established Lewis-Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation in Lewiston.
“Enforcing consumer protection law is an important responsibility,” Wasden said. “The Consumer Protection Division’s annual report is an opportunity for my office to inform Idahoans about the specifics of this vital work.”
The CPD logged a total of 1223 consumer complaints, a 35 percent increase over the previous year. Complaints about motor vehicles again led the list of top 10 complaints. Other top categories include internet sales, healthcare-related disputes, construction/contractor complaints and landlord/tenant disputes.
The report also highlights the ongoing payments made to the State of Idaho from the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. The state received more than $23 million dollars from tobacco companies in Fiscal Year 2018. Since 1998, companies have paid the state $478 million.
The division also:
- concluded enforcement actions against national and international companies such as General Motors and Lenovo, as well as several Idaho-based companies;
- participated in multistate settlements with Deutsche Bank and Citibank for their roles in manipulating LIBOR-related rates; and
- pursued consumer protection actions against Hathaway Homes, an eastern Idaho manufactured home dealer accused of taking customers’ money and then failing to deliver their new homes.
The Consumer Protection Division includes 23 attorneys, consumer specialists and support staff. In addition to working directly with Idaho consumers, division attorneys also represent the Idaho Department of Insurance and Department of Finance.