CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office is continuing its efforts to protect consumers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline has received more than 850 inquiries on specific consumer issues related to COVID-19 since mid-March.
“Our Consumer Protection Division remains active and ready to assist consumers year round, but our diligent staff is working with increased vigor now that COVID-19 has hit our state,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “I urge consumers with any issues, don’t hesitate to call our office if they see anything suspicious.”
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline – 1-800-368-8808 – remains open to assist with claims of price gouging, COVID-19 scams or other ways in which bad actors may try to take advantage of consumers during the pandemic. People may also file complaints at www.wvago.gov.
Among consumer inquires and reports are questions about price gouging, particularly on household goods and groceries. Other popular concerns have involved landlord-tenant issues, vacation or event cancellations and the continued payment for services not received, such as daycare and gymnasium memberships.
More than 30 of those reports have led to varying degrees of action. That includes subpoenas and numerous letters to businesses whose conduct may have violated the state’s price gouging law or landlords whose eviction threats may have underplayed the need for a court order.
The Attorney General’s office also has been monitoring scam activity to ensure that consumers are alerted to the latest coronavirus-related scams, including those involving utility impostors, stimulus check fraud and sham charities.
Deceptive advertising claims of “cures” for coronavirus have also circulated. For instance, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division sent a cease-and-desist letter to a business that claimed CBD oil could cure coronavirus.
The Attorney General reminds consumers to never give out personal, identifiable information without verifying the caller’s legitimacy, whether it be via phone, email or text message.
Aside from consumer protection, the Attorney General remains active in providing counsel to his constitutional office counterparts as well as local government officials regarding matters of executive authority, elections and the Second Amendment.