Rutledge Warns of Possible Price Gouging During Coronavirus CrisisWed, Mar 11, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today is reminding consumers to be aware of potential price gouging on healthcare products and other goods and services following Governor Asa Hutchinson’s public health emergency declaration. The announcement was made Wednesday morning after the first presumptive coronavirus case in Arkansas was detected in Pine Bluff.
“Price gouging is illegal, and I will hold bad actors accountable who take advantage of Arkansans," said Attorney General Rutledge. "Unfortunately during a time of uncertainty and worry, consumers must be diligent and report businesses charging prices for items that are beyond legal limits."
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to avoid price gouging:
- Know the average price for goods like hand sanitizer, soap and non-perishable food items before purchasing. If it seems too high, ask questions.
- Avoid high-pressure sales tactics to purchase items that claim to keep you healthy.
- When possible, deal with established, reputable businesses in the community.
- Stay updated on the latest risks, warnings and prevention tactics at CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
The price gouging law is triggered whenever a state of emergency is declared by federal, state or local governments. The ban on price gouging remains in effect for at least 30 days on goods and services related to the emergency and can be extended another 30 days by the governing body, if needed. The scope of the law is broad and is intended to cover anything that may be needed in the event of a state of emergency.
Arkansas’s price gouging law prohibits businesses from excessive and unjustified increases in the prices charged for essential goods and services during an emergency. Businesses may lawfully charge a higher price if they can establish that the higher price is directly attributable to additional costs incurred by the retailer, its supplier or as the result of additional costs for labor or materials.
For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or Facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
Rutledge’s Statement on Hot Springs Police Officer Killed in the Line of DutyTue, Mar 10, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement following the announcement that Hot Springs Police Officer Brent Scrimshire was killed in the line of duty Tuesday night.
“My heart breaks for the family of Officer Brent Scrimshire who was killed in the line of duty tonight. Our men and women in blue hold the line every day so Arkansans can sleep safely at night,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Unfortunately, Officer Scrimshire paid the ultimate sacrifice and we are forever indebted to him. My prayers and deepest condolences go out to Officer Scrimshire’s family and the entire Hot Springs Police Department as they are faced with this devastating loss.”
Rutledge Files Lawsuit Against Anthem AlarmThu, Mar 5, 2020
Says, ‘These door-to-door dealers used deception to secure sales’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit today against Anthem Alarm, LLC, a defunct Utah-based residential alarm sales company, and its former owners for deceptive door-to-door sales tactics in Arkansas and use of unenforceable contracts.
“Anthem made its money selling safety when it was all a scam,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These door-to-door dealers used deception to secure sales and faulty contracts to make it nearly impossible to cancel services. I will continue to hold bad actors accountable who take advantage of Arkansans.”
Anthem sold alarm systems and monitoring services for thousands of dollars in Arkansas. Often, Anthem’s door-to-door sales agents told consumers that their current residential alarm company either was going out of business, had lost its license or had been sold to Anthem. It claimed to be providing these services through its own company when, in fact, it often immediately assigned the contract to an out-of-state company under another name. As a result, Anthem’s contracts did not include the total sale price, down payment, or notice of cancellation as required by law. Consumers were unable to cancel their contracts, were billed for services they did not receive and/or were billed for services after they canceled their contracts.
These allegations, along with multiple others listed in the complaint, are violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA), Home Solicitation Sales Act (HSSA) and the Automatic Renewal of Professional Home Security Contracts Prohibition.
The Attorney General’s Office is seeking an injunction, restitution for consumers, civil penalties and other relief against Anthem and its former owners, Bradley Leeflang and Chase Evans. They face up to a $10,000 fine for each violation and are subject to an additional $10,000 penalty per violation for targeting elderly consumers.
For more tips to help avoid falling victim to bad actors, or to file a consumer-related claim with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, call (800) 482-8982, email email@example.com or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
Top 10 Consumer ComplaintsWed, Mar 4, 2020
Says, ‘We take every consumer complaint seriously and will work diligently to protect Arkansans.’
LITTLE ROCK– In addition to National Consumer Protection Week, March 1-7, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the top 10 most common consumer complaints the Attorney General’s Office received in 2019.
“I want to do the fighting for you, but my office has to know what’s going on,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “We take every consumer complaint seriously and will work diligently to protect Arkansans.”
National Consumer Protection Week is a partnership with attorneys general from across the country, along with many national organizations including the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission and AARP, to encourage consumers to understand their rights and make educated consumer decisions.
The 10 most common complaint categories from 2019 were:
- Automobiles sales, service financing and repair
- Consumer Goods & Services
- Home Construction, Maintenance & Repair
- Satellite, Cable & Internet Service Providers
- Health Care
- Credit Repairs & Other Financial Services
- Wireless & Landline Telephone Services
- Travel & Timeshares
Automobile-related complaints were the top issue the Attorney General’s Office received from consumers in 2018 and 2019. Last year, automobile complaints brought in 1,185 complaints. These types of complaints often involve consumers reporting financing errors and high-pressure tactics to buy add-on services at the time of purchase, such as gap insurance, extended warranties and sales misrepresentations.
The Attorney General’s Office resolved 5,679 formal complaints in 2019, up by more than 200 since last year. To file a complaint online, visit ArkansasAG.gov.
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
Broad-Based Support for Rutledge’s SCOTUS Case Shows Need to Regulate PBMsTue, Mar 3, 2020
Says, ‘large bi-partisan support from the public and private sectors shows the overwhelming need to regulate abusive PBM reimbursement practices’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was encouraged by the broad-based support received for her case, to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in April. A brief of support was filed by 45 states and the District of Columbia as well as a brief from the US Solicitor General. The multistate brief, led by California, is one of the largest multistate amicus briefs in recent years. An additional 10 briefs from national organizations, such as AARP and the American Medical Association, were filed supporting Arkansas’s defense of its law regulating pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
“Having such large bi-partisan support from the public and private sectors shows the overwhelming need to regulate abusive PBM reimbursement practices,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Abusive PBM reimbursement practices are harming Arkansas patients and community pharmacies nationwide, all the while lining the pockets of PBMs with billions of dollars.”
Leslie Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association will be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court April 27. To view the full docket of what has been filed on behalf of this case as well as all amicus briefs, click here.
Rutledge’s Statement on Passing of Highway Commission Chairman Tom SchueckTue, Mar 3, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement offering condolences on the passing of Arkansas businessman Tom Schueck.
“I was saddened to learn of the passing of Highway Commission chairman and Arkansas Hall of Fame member Tom Schueck,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Tom made it his mission to build up Arkansas through infrastructure, transforming businesses and employing hundreds of people over the last 50 years. I am grateful for his service to our great State. His family has my deepest condolences and prayers during this difficult time.”