Georgia, 46 States Obtain $30 Million Judgment Against Membership Program Marketers

Attorney General Sam Olens and John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (“GOCP”), along with the Attorneys General of 46 other states and the District of Columbia announced today that Connecticut-based Affinion, and its subsidiaries Trilegiant and Webloyalty, will pay over $30 million to settle allegations that they misled consumers into signing up and paying for discount clubs and memberships.

Loclly to cease misleading practices and pay $94K in fees and restitution

John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (“GOCP”), today announced that the agency has entered into a settlement with daily deal company Loclly (Thanxme, LLC, doing business as Loclly and loclly.com), and Michael Ferguson, the company’s principal officer. 

Atlanta Solution Locksmiths, LLC to Pay Over $111,000 in Penalties and Consumer Restitution

John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (“GOCP”), has announced that Atlanta Solution Locksmiths, LLC (“ASL”) and its owner, Asher Uziel, have entered into a settlement requiring them to pay $11,897.40 in consumer restitution and $100,000 in penalties and investigative expenses to resolve allegations of unfair and deceptive practices.

Techsmart Settles with Governor's Office of Consumer Protection, Agrees to Cease Doing Business in Georgia

John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (“GOCP”), has announced that Smart Industries, LLC d/b/a “Techsmart” and its principal, Guru Dharam Khalsa, have entered into a settlement with GOCP based on allegations that the company failed to disclose hidden finance charges in violation of the Truth-in-Lending laws, thereby not revealing to consumers the true cost of its products.

Beware of scammers impersonating government agencies

Scammers sometimes impersonate government officials to get you to send them money. A consumer recently reported to our agency that someone claiming to be from the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs called and told her she had won a large sum of money.

Governor's Office of Consumer Protection Warns of Vacation Scams

As Spring break and summer vacation planning season draw near, the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection ("OCP") has been receiving numerous complaints about vacation scams.

Governor's Office of Consumer Protection Alleges that Extended Warranty Company NAVISS Misled Consumers

John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (“OCP”), today announced that NAVISS, L.L.C. has entered into a settlement with the agency. 

Governor's Office of Consumer Protection Warns Consumers to Beware of Loan Scams, Especially During the Holidays

The Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection is warning consumers to be especially alert during the Holiday Season, and not to fall prey to online and telemarketing loan scams. One scenario that has been reported to our office involves a loan advertised online. When the consumer submits an application he/she then receives phone calls from a scammer who claims to be a representative of an out-of-state bank. The scammer informs the consumer that the loan has been approved and explains that he/she must now pay a $120 processing fee via Green Dot MoneyPak card. After the consumer pays the money as instructed, the scammer then asks for $300 for another processing fee. If the consumer pays that fee, the scammer will ask for yet another fee, and so on. Needless to say, the consumer never receives the loan and is now out the processing fees already paid.

State Warns of Flood-Damaged Vehicles Being Sold in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

The Office of the Attorney General and the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection are warning consumers who are in the market for used cars to beware of flood-damaged vehicles in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Many previously-flooded vehicles are recycled into the economy and end up being sold at auction. They may then be sold at used car lots or through online classified ads.

Extended Warranty Company CarSafe Agrees to Pay Over $100,000 in Restitution and Penalties, and to Cease Making False Representations

John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (“OCP”), today announced that the CarSafe LLC and its principals, Mark Eckman and Nils Flodberg, have entered into a settlement with the agency.  The Oklahoma City-based company, which markets vehicle service contracts to consumers nationwide, is alleged to have disseminated misleading direct mail solicitations and misrepresented material terms of its vehicle service contracts to Georgia consumers, in addition to violating a previous agreement with OCP. 

Watch Brokers put under control of a court-appointed receiver after failing to honor settlement and judgment obligations

The Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection today announced that the Superior Court of Fulton County has granted its request to assign a court-appointed receiver to manage and control the assets of International Estate Brokers, LLC d/b/a Watch Brokers and d/b/a webuywatches.com (“Watch Brokers”). Under an Order issued yesterday by Judge Cynthia Wright, the receiver, Christopher Tierney of Hays Financial Consulting, has already taken control of Watch Brokers’ offices and showroom and is assembling its inventory.

Fraudulent Invoices on the Rise

The Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (“OCP”) is warning consumers and businesses about an increase in the number of fraudulent invoices being circulated.  You or your business may receive a solicitation that is designed to look like a bill.  Frequently, these phony bills will be for goods or services that you routinely order:  copier paper, toner and maintenance supplies, equipment maintenance contracts, telecommunications services, or classified advertising.  They are made to look like legitimate invoices, and may include an account number or reference number, a payment due date, and an invoice date.  The fraudsters will also carefully calculate an amount that is small enough to get paid without arousing suspicion.  Sometimes these phony invoices will contain words of urgency in order to induce the payer to respond quickly and not take the time to research the source of the invoice. 

Alpha Cars LLC Settles with the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection

John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (“OCP”), announced today that the agency has entered into a settlement with Alpha Cars LLC, of Roswell, Georgia, and its principals, Jonaid Malik and Rehan Saeed. The settlement also covers related entities known as “Alpha Carz” and “AAA-GA.” OCP alleges that the used motor vehicle dealership engaged in unlawful sales and advertising practices, including:  failing to disclose to consumers that vehicles had frame, unibody or other damage when consumers asked about a vehicle’s condition; stating in Internet advertisements that certain vehicles had no known accident history, when that was not the case; failing to disclose to consumers that their deposits were non-refundable; and misrepresenting to consumers that certain vehicles were still under a manufacturer’s warranty, without determining whether such warranties had become void due to significant accident damage the vehicles had sustained. OCP also alleges that Alpha Cars represented on one of its websites that it sold new cars, when it actually only sells used vehicles and is not licensed to sell new vehicles.

Dick's Sporting Goods Settles with Governor's Office of Consumer Protection for $500,000

John Sours, Administrator of The Governor's Office of Consumer Protection ("OCP"), announced today that the agency has entered into a settlement with Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. (“Dick’s”) to resolve claims of deceptive advertising. The agency alleges that Dick’s compared merchandise “sale” prices to “original” or “list” prices that were inflated to give consumers the impression that they were receiving larger discounts than they actually were. “This type of advertising is unfair to consumers and to legitimate businesses alike,” says Mr. Sours. “Advertised sale price comparisons should be based on prices that merchandise was actually sold for.”

Skechers Settles Charges of Deceptive Advertising for Shoe Marketing for $45 million with FTC, 44 States, and D.C.

In a coordinated filing, the Federal Trade Commission, the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection and Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the State of Hawaii’s Office of Consumer Protection filed settlements today with Skechers USA, Inc., the makers of Shape-Ups, Tone-Ups, and the Skechers Resistance Runner athletic shoes.  Under the settlements, up to $40 million is being allocated for consumer refund money to be paid back to consumers who purchased the shoes.  As part of the settlements, Skechers will pay an additional $5 million to the states.