Elections AG 2022

Kansas attorney general looks at governor’s mansion

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFPB Clarifies Scope of Equal Credit Opportunity Law Protections Against Gender Discrimination

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued an interpretive rule clarifying that the prohibition of discrimination based on sex under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”) and its regulations application, Regulation B, also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • The rule of interpretation clarifies that lenders cannot discriminate against borrowers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, including on the basis of actual or perceived non-compliance with stereotypes based on sex or gender , or on the basis of social or other associations of an applicant. The rule cites its consistency with the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S. Ct. 1731, holding that the prohibition of discrimination based on sex in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • The CFPB has said it will take enforcement action under the ECOA against financial institutions that violate this law.

Charities

39 attorneys general and the FTC put an end to suspected charity scammers using robocalls

  • A bipartite group of 39 GAs, led by Michigan AG Dana Nessel, and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has entered into an agreement with fundraising company Associated Community Services and related entities and individuals (collectively, “ACS”) regarding allegations that ACS has engaged in a fraudulent program of fundraising charity that has used tens of millions of illegal robocalls to solicit donations from the public in violation of FTC and consumer protection, business regulations, charity solicitation and / or charitable trust laws .
  • The complaint alleged that ACS made more than 1.3 billion calls to more than 67 million consumers, targeted certain phone numbers with more than ten calls per week and more than twice an hour, and called certain phone numbers more than 5,000 times. Through these tactics, ACS raised more than $ 110 million for organizations claiming to support charitable causes such as homeless veterans, breast cancer patients and children with autism, but it kept over 90% of donations received. The complaint further alleged that after its ACS business ceased in 2019, some of the individual defendants continued their deceptive fundraising practices and illegal robocalling practices under other company names — Directele Inc. and The Dale Corporation.
  • Under the terms of the stipulated orders, ACS is subject to a monetary judgment of over $ 110 million, which is partially suspended for inability to pay, and is permanently prohibited from conducting or viewing fundraising activities, using existing donor lists and undertake telemarketing activities, among others. Related entities Directele and The Dale Corporation will be dissolved, and their related defendants are also excluded from future telemarketing, robocalling or fundraising activities.

Consumer protection

Home Appliance Retailer to Settle $ 10.5 Million Unfair Trade Practices Lawsuit

  • California AG Xavier Becerra reached a partial settlement with appliance chain Adir International, LLC d / b / a La Curaçao and a related entity and individual (collectively, “Curaçao”) to resolve allegations that it engaged in illegal business practices and misleading advertising in violation of Unfair California Competition Law and other consumer protection laws.
  • As stated previously, the complaint alleged that Curacao was targeting low-income Spanish speaking immigrants who did not have access to traditional credit through allegedly deceptive advertisements, unwanted contract additions, illegal sales of collateral or failing collateral, and illegal collection practices of receivables. Curacao is also said to have violated consumer rights by taking small claims on allegedly overdue loans without giving proper notice to consumers.
  • According to the partial judgment, Curacao will provide $ 10 million in debt relief and cancellation to consumers and pay a civil fine of $ 500,000. In addition, Curacao will need to prominently display a consumer bill of rights in its stores, including its return policies, include additional information in its advertising, provide a contract in the consumer’s language before asking them to sign it, hire a business ethics expert to create and maintain a sales program that prompts legal behavior, and report its compliance to the GA’s office for 2.5 years, among other things.
  • Unresolved claims related to Curacao’s payment protection plans and insurance practices must be tried in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Ticket agency will fully reimburse consumers and event planners for pandemic-related cancellations

  • Washington AG Bob Ferguson entered into an agreement with ticket management company Brown Paper Tickets, LLC to resolve allegations that it failed to pay event organizers for events held and reimburse consumers for events canceled in violation of the law of Washington on consumer protection.
  • As stated previously, the complaint alleged that Brown Paper Tickets owed event planners millions of dollars for physical events held before the COVID-19 closures and for virtual events held since the closures began, and that Brown Paper Tickets owed approximately $ 760,000 in nationwide consumer refunds for canceled events.
  • According to the consent decree, Brown Paper Tickets will fully refund all tickets purchased for canceled events, and pay all money owed to past event organizers, pay $ 70,000 to the GA office for legal fees and costs , and submit detailed reports to the GA office every 30 days on the status of reimbursements.

FTC Tackles CBD Retailers Over Allegedly Misleading Health Marketing Claims

  • The FTC approved final administrative consent orders against cannabidiol (“CBD”) companies Bionatrol Health, LLC, HempmeCBD, Epichouse LLC, CBD Meds, Inc., Reef Industries, Inc. and Steves Distributing, LLC, and related companies and individuals who allegedly used deceptive health claims or claims to market CBD products in violation of the FTC law.
  • Complaints against Bionatrol Health, Epic house, CBD drugs, HempCBD, Reef industries, and Steves Distribution alleged that they had made scientifically unsubstantiated claims about the ability of their products to treat serious medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and AIDS, and to manage pain better than prescription drugs like OxyContin, among others.
  • Under the terms of consent decrees, Bionatrol Health pay $ 20,000, HempCBD will pay more than $ 36,000, Epic house pay $ 30,000, Reef industries will pay $ 85,000 and Steves Distributing will pay the FTC $ 75,000. All accused, including CBD drugs, must stop using unsubstantiated health claims in their marketing and inform consumers who have purchased relevant products of the FTC’s action and that the seller has no evidence of their marketing claims, among other things.