The State AG Report Weekly Update January 5, 2017

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFPB Settles with Credit Reporting Companies for Alleged Deceptive Marketing Practices

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) entered into consent orders with TransUnion Interactive, Inc., TransUnion, LLC, and TransUnion (collectively “TransUnion”) and Equifax Inc. and Equifax Consumer Services Inc. (collectively “Equifax”) to resolve allegations that the companies violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act by deceptively marketing their credit scores and credit-related products to consumers.
  • According to the CFPB, TransUnion and Equifax allegedly deceptively marketed credit scores as the same scores typically used by lenders and misrepresented the cost and requirements of obtaining credit scores or credit-related products.
  • Under the terms of the consent orders, TransUnion must pay $13.9 million in restitution to affected consumers and $3 million to the CFPB’s civil penalty fund, and Equifax must pay $3.8 million in restitution and $2.5 million to the civil penalty fund. The companies must also, among other things, truthfully represent the usefulness of their credit scores and obtain consumers’ express informed consent prior to enrolling them in any credit-related products.

Consumer Protection

Pennsylvania Attorney General Files Legal Actions against Automobile Dealers

  • Pennsylvania AG Bruce Beemer filed 29 legal actions against individuals and automobile dealers located in the state for allegedly violating federal and state laws, including the Pennsylvania Board of Vehicles Act, the Pennsylvania Automotive Industry Trade Practices Regulations, and the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.
  • According to the AG’s Office, the businesses allegedly engaged in a variety of deceptive business practices such as selling vehicles without being properly licensed, selling vehicles that were not roadworthy, and publishing deceptive advertisements.
  • The investigations were part of a broader statewide initiative led by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection to crack down on automobile dealers engaging in deceptive business practices.

Data Privacy

New York Attorney General Settles with Home Care Services Agency for Allegedly Violating Privacy Rule

  • New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reached a settlement with All American Homecare Agency, Inc. (“AAHA”), a home care services agency, for allegedly violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) Privacy Rule’s requirement that an individual provide written authorization before his or her protected health information can be used for marketing.
  • According to the AG’s office, AAHA allegedly obtained personal contact information of patients at Angels in Your Home, a competing home care agency, and tried to convince them to switch to AAHA. This allegedly prompted concerns by patients who feared their services would be affected.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, AAHA agreed to a permanent injunction prohibiting it from violating HIPAA and to pay $25,000 in penalties and costs of the investigation.


15 Attorneys General and 4 Localities Pen Letter to President-Elect Trump Urging Defense of the Clean Power Plan

  • 15 Democratic AGs and 4 localities sent a letter on December 28, 2016, to President-elect Donald Trump urging him to continue the federal government’s defense of the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) rule entitled “Carbon Pollution Emissions Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units” (commonly known as the Clean Power Plan (“CPP”)).
  • According to the AGs and localities, the CPP limits the harmful effects of carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants and further promotes cost-effective strategies implemented by states and local utilities to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, and grow the economy.
  • As previously reported, 22 Republican AGs sent a letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence and congressional leaders on December 14, 2016, urging the Administration and Congress to rescind the CPP.


West Virginia Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Prescription Drug Wholesaler

  • West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey, in conjunction with the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources and Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, reached a settlement with H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Company (“HD Smith”) to resolve allegations that the company violated state law by failing to report suspicious prescription drug orders.
  • According to the AG’s office, the company allegedly failed to detect, report, and stop an influx of suspicious drug orders for painkillers.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, H.D. Smith will pay $3.5 million to the state and will comply with state law regarding reporting suspicious drug orders. As we previously reported, AG Morrisey reached similar settlements with Miami-Luken and several other prescription drug companies last year.

State AGs in the News

Kathleen “Kate” Kenealy to Serve as Acting Attorney General of California

  • California Attorney General Kamala Harris resigned on January 3, 2017, to assume her next role as a U.S. Senator. Prior to her resignation, AG Harris named Kathleen “Kate” Kenealy as Chief Deputy Attorney General. Upon AG Harris’ resignation, Kenealy became the state’s Acting Attorney General and will serve in that position until the state legislature confirms U.S. Congressman Xavier Becerra, Governor Jerry Brown’s nominee for the state’s AG position.
  • Acting Attorney General Kenealy joined the California Office of the Attorney General in August 2003, and for the past five years served as the Chief Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Law Division. In this role she led the AG office’s representation of officials, state employees, and more than 200 state agencies.