For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: February 27, 2008

Wasden Recovers More Than $660,000 for Consumers in 2007

(Boise) – The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division recovered $660,253 for Idaho consumers last year, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today. Idahoans received $1.29 for each $1.00 appropriated by the legislature for consumer protection operations. 2007 marked the 17th consecutive year in which the amount of money recovered for consumers was greater than the general fund appropriation for consumer protection operations.

Wasden released his annual report on consumer protection operations during a news conference in Boise today.

Wasden transferred a record $1,282,752 from the Consumer Protection Account to the General Fund at the end of Fiscal Year 2007.

The Attorney General reported that the Consumer Protection Division of his office also recovered for the State of Idaho more than $1.7 million in civil penalties, fees, and costs. Wasden noted that these amounts are in addition to the $22 million Idaho received last year from the tobacco settlement.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Davison logged 6,205 instances of consumer assistance in 2007. 1,614 contacts were consumer complaints. The remainder consisted of information from consumers, requests for information and forms, and consumer inquiries about particular businesses.

The Consumer Protection staff completed 19 enforcement actions last year including significant Consumer Protection Act settlements with pharmaceutical manufacturers, Internet auction sellers, and other businesses. Idahoans received more than $432,000 in restitution payments from a settlement with Ameriquest Mortgage. A settlement with Highland Financial, a business that offered foreclosure rescue services, resolved issues concerning Highland’s advertising.

“I urge Idahoans to use caution if they are facing foreclosure,” Attorney General Wasden said. “It is important to speak with your lender first to explore all options to avoid foreclosure.”

“We continued with, and expanded, our consumer education efforts in 2007 in the area of protecting children from Internet sexual predators through the ProtecTeens initiative,” Attorney General Wasden said. “In August, we re-released the ProtecTeens CD to include two social networking manuals: A Parental Guide to Social Networking and The Internet Lingo Dictionary. By year’s end, we had distributed more than 100,000 copies of the ProtecTeens CD throughout Idaho.”

The Top 10 List of consumer complaints for 2007 is:

Category Complaints
  1. Telephone Solicitations
  2. Telecommunications
  3. Retail store sales or /service
  4. Internet
  5. Motor vehicles
  6. Construction
  7. Finance or lending institutions
  8. Mail order sales
  9. Electronic equip or service
  10. Collection agencies

380
154
107
104
103
83
74
62
60
48

Click here to view the full report from the Attorney General Wasden’s website.

Attorney General Wasden discussed problems consumers sometimes encounter if they use a “mortgage rescue” service.

Attorney General Wasden offered this advice to consumers who are falling behind on their mortgage payments.

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