Announcements, information and updates from the AG Alliance Members and Associates
September 3, 2020
UPCOMING VIRTUAL SESSIONS
COVID-19 Related Fees and Surcharges: 
A Consumer Protection Discussion 
Moderated By Attorney General William Tong (CT)
Thursday, September 24th
1 - 1:30pm ET

Panelists:
  • Ted Rossman, Industry Analyst, Creditcards.com
  • Chief Deputy or Consumer Protection Division staffer, AGO pending

A surcharge is any fee imposed on top of the advertised price of goods or services. While many forms of surcharging are legally permissible and have policy support, recent reports have focused on new, less-tested “surcharge” fees passed on to consumers allegedly due to COVID-19 factors.  
 
This session will help Attorneys General and attendees understand and structure the appropriate consumer protection framework through which to view COVID-19-related surcharging, and will address:

  • How to distinguish between a permissible surcharge versus a deceptive or misleading fee.  
  • In context of COVID-19, how to assess whether a surcharge is reasonable. 
  • How and when a surcharge should be disclosed to consumers.  
  • The legal obligations or "best practices" businesses should follow before assessing a surcharge on consumers.
  • The policy and economic considerations that exist in favor of permissible surcharges.
HOT TOPICS
ELECTION CYBERSECURITY
Office of Intergovernmental Affairs 

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the Election Risk Profile Tool, a user-friendly assessment tool to equip election officials and federal agencies in prioritizing and managing cybersecurity risks to the Election Infrastructure Subsector.
CANNABIS

Four years after Florida voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana and one year after the Legislature allowed patients to smoke it, the state's department of health, which oversees the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, quietly published emergency rules for edible medical marijuana.
WORKERS' RIGHTS

A new EPI report documents the dramatic increase in the involvement of state attorneys general (AGs) in protecting workers’ rights in the past two years.
Most recently, several state AGs have been highly active during the coronavirus pandemic, including by enforcing stay-at-home executive orders and advocating for safer workplaces in key industries and among key employers.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ACTIONS
CONSUMER PROTECTION

  • D.C. AG Racine announced a lawsuit against Instacart, a grocery delivery service, for charging District consumers millions of dollars in deceptive service fees and for failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in District sales tax. 

  • Arkansas AG Rutledge warns consumers of scam artists working to take advantage of Arkansas who suffered property damage or losses.

  • Washington AG Ferguson filed a consumer protection lawsuit against e-cigarette company JUUL, and asserted that the company violated the state Consumer Protection Act by designing and marketing its products to appeal to underage consumers and deceiving consumers about the addictiveness of its product.

POLICING

  • California AG Becerra discussed policing during the latest Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory (RIPA) Board meeting. More information about the board’s work and the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 is available here.

COMBATTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING

  • Florida AG Moody's Office of Statewide Prosecution filed charges against a South Florida man operating a human trafficking ring following his arrest by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.


YOUTH SUICIDE PREVENTION

  • Hawaii AG Connors announced that she has joined 38 Attorneys General across the nation as an Ambassador for The Jason Foundation, Inc, which works to address the public health issue of youth and young adult suicide. The announcement coincides with the beginning of September as Suicide Prevention Month.

NATIONAL CHILD ID PROGRAM

  • In a personal appeal to President Trump, Utah AG Reyes led a coalition of state Attorneys General in asking for the administration to make funding available to support H.R. 4172, The National Child ID Act, (The National Child ID Program) in order to help both parents and law enforcement better protect children from exploitation, abduction and human trafficking.

DRUG ACCESSIBILITY

  • Montana AG Fox joined a bipartisan coalition of 23 state and territory attorneys general in signing a bipartisan letter urging the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit use of the FDA Orange Book to block competition. In the letter, a response to a call for public comment by the FDA, the attorneys general express their concern with the affordability of drugs and devices, calling on the FDA to prohibit companies from listing device and component patents in the FDA’s Orange Book.

NUCLEAR WASTE

  • South Carolina AG Wilson announced that the State of South Carolina and the United States government have reached a $600 million settlement to end six years of litigation related to the remaining 9.5 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium relocated to the Savannah River Site in the early 2000s.

CONSUMER SAFETY/RELIEF EFFORTS

  • Since May, Uber has required riders, drivers, and delivery people to wear a mask or face cover when using the app. They're building on these efforts with several new features and initiatives to help ensure we are all protecting one another. 

  • In response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Laura, American Express has committed $100,000 to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts in impacted communities.

  • Lowe's announced it will donate $1 million to support relief efforts after Hurricane Laura hammered the Gulf Coast, and will send 200 specially trained associates to staff stores in areas impacted by the storm.

CONSUMER FINANCE


  • The CFPB entered into settlements with Trans-Fast Remittance LLC and Sigue Corporation and its subsidiaries, SGS Corporation and GroupEx Corporation. The Bureau found that Trans-Fast and Sigue and its subsidiaries violated the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) and the Remittance Transfer Rule, which implements EFTA. The Bureau also found that Trans-Fast violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010’s (CFPA) prohibition against deceptive acts or practices. 

  • The CFPB issued a report examining the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer credit. The report found that consumers have not experienced significant increases in delinquency or other negative credit outcomes as reported in credit record data following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

  • The CFPB released a guide to assist intermediaries in serving individuals to access their Economic Impact Payments (EIPs). 

EMPLOYEE/COMMUNITY APPRECIATION


ENVIRONMENT

VIRTUAL SEMINAR LIBRARY
Missed our live programs? No problem! Follow the button below to visit our Virtual Seminar Library for access to all recordings.

Do you have a webinar topic suggestion? We want to hear from you! Please email ideas to Andrea Friedman at AFriedman@AGAlliance.org.
CWAG Executive Committee
- Wayne Stenehjem - Phil Weiser -
- Jason Ravnsborg - Hector Balderas -

AG Alliance Co-Chairs
- Lawrence Wasden - Sean Reyes - Karl Racine -
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