Consumer Protection Unit


Consumer Protection Unit

Consumer Complaints

Consumer Education





State of Wyoming Cases

The Attorney General's Office conducts investigations and takes enforcement actions against businesses that appear to be violating the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act. The Attorney General also participates in multi-state actions, and occasionally joins other state attorneys general in submitting amicus curiae briefs on important matters that impact consumers. Listed below are some matters resolved by the Wyoming Attorney General.


2019

Equifax Inc. (Docket No. 191-855)

A coalition of 50 Attorneys General, including the Wyoming Attorney General, secured a settlement with Equifax concerning the 2017 data breach affecting over 147 million Americans. Information breached in this incident included social security numbers, names, dates of birth, addresses, credit card numbers, and in some cases, driver’s license numbers. The coalition of states alleges that the data breach occurred because Equifax failed to implement an adequate security program.

In summary, the key terms of the multistate Attorney General settlement are as follows:

  • Equifax will offer affected consumers free credit monitoring services for 10 years;
  • Equifax will provide free Identity Theft Restoration services to all affected consumers;
  • Equifax will strengthen its data security practices to help protect against another breach;
  • Equifax will pay $175 million to the states, $1 million of which will go to Wyoming; and
  • Equifax will pay $300 million into a settlement fund for the benefit of affected consumers, with the possibility of paying up to an additional $125 million into the settlement fund, for a total of $425 million;
    • Affected consumers are eligible to request the following types of reimbursement from the settlement fund:
      • Reimbursement for time spent trying to avoid or recover from identity theft (up to 20 total hours at $25 per hour);
      • Reimbursement for money spent trying to avoid or recover from identity theft (such as costs for freezing your credit report, professional fees paid to address identity theft, postage, etc.);
      • Up to $125 to reimburse for credit monitoring services purchased if you choose not to accept the offered 10 free years of credit monitoring service offered as a part of the settlement.

The settlement administrator maintains a website (www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com) and a toll-free number (1-833-759-2982) that consumers can visit and call for more information about the settlement, including the process for determining eligibility and submitting claims. 


Soundworks, LLC and William Dohse (Docket No. 38574)

William Dohse owned and operated Soundworks, LLC, a company in Gillette that offered audio-visual equipment and installation services. After conducting an investigation, the Attorney General alleged that Mr. Dohse and Soundworks, LLC (together, “Defendants”) solicited and accepted payment for audio-visual equipment and services that they never actually provided. Instead of providing refunds for the unfulfilled merchandise, Defendants either falsely promised to provide the merchandise at a later date or ignored consumers’ requests for refunds and order fulfillment. The Attorney General further alleged that while Defendants failed to fulfill orders for merchandise or provide timely refunds, they used company funds to purchase food, beverage, lodging, entertainment, and clothing. Without admitting liability, the Defendants agreed to resolve the allegations through a Consent Judgment entered by the Campbell County District Court. That Consent Judgment requires Defendants to refund six consumers a total of $5,141.51; wind down affairs and dissolve the limited liability company; and refrain from engaging in similar conduct in the future.  The Consent Judgment imposes suspended civil penalties of $30,000 that become due if Defendants fail to adhere to the terms of the settlement or if the Attorney General finds that Defendants materially misrepresented their financial condition to the Attorney General. 



J. Gorman offered sealcoating and asphalt paving services door-to-door in Laramie county between 2013 and 2016 under a number of company names. J. Gorman and its owners, John Gorman Sr., John Gorman Jr., and Bartley Gorman, lured Wyomingites into paying thousands of dollars for paved driveways, which quickly deteriorated into loose gravel that caused damage, rather than benefit, to homeowners' properties. Although the Gormans told consumers that they were local to Wyoming and that they would therefore be able to quickly respond to any requests for repair on their "guaranteed" work, the Gormans in fact left town immediately after their projects - leaving consumers with fake addresses and nonworking (or unanswered) phone numbers.

A Default Judgment was issued against the Defendants on April 25, 2019, ordering the Defendants to pay consumer refunds of over $36,000, and civil penalties of $870,000. Additionally, the Judgment prohibits the Defendants from engaging in home improvement or asphalt paving transactions in the State.


Bosch (Docket No. 191-181)

The State of Wyoming entered into a settlement with Bosch, a multinational engineering company that supplies the global automotive industry. Among the products Bosch supplies to its auto manufacturing customers are the electronic control units (“ECUs”) that house the complex software that controls nearly all aspects of an engine’s performance, including emissions systems. A multistate investigation concluded that Bosch facilitated the implementation of the defeat device software in more than 600,000 Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler vehicles over a period that spanned more than a decade. Under the terms of the settlement, Bosch will pay Wyoming $170,280. The agreement also includes injunctive terms and requires Bosch to maintain robust processes to monitor compliance and to refuse to accommodate requests for software development and programming that could result in the installation of defeat device software.



FCA (Docket No. 191-180)

The Attorney General entered into a settlement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., its U.S. subsidiary FCA US, LLC, its Italian affiliate V.M. Motori S.p.A. and V.M. North America, Inc. (collectively, “Fiat Chrysler”). The settlement addresses allegations that Fiat Chrysler installed unlawful defeat device software and undisclosed Auxiliary Emissions Control Devices in 576 Model Year 2014-16 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles that the automaker sold or leased in Wyoming. The Attorney General’s office alleges that Fiat Chrysler cheated on emissions tests by calibrating the vehicles’ software to conceal that the vehicles emitted higher than permitted levels of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) in real-world driving conditions, and misled consumers by falsely claiming the “Eco-Diesel”-branded Jeep SUVs and Ram 1500 trucks were environmentally friendly and compliant with the law in all 50 states. 

The settlement requires Fiat Chrysler to pay the State of Wyoming $360,000. It further prohibits Fiat Chrysler from engaging in future unfair or deceptive acts and practices and requires Fiat Chrysler to carry out its obligations under a related settlement agreement in the Multidistrict Litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. That settlement requires Fiat Chrysler to:  eliminate the defeat device features from the relevant software through a software “flash fix”; provide eligible owners and lessees extended warranties; and, together with co-defendant Bosch, pay eligible owners who take their vehicle to an authorized dealer for the software repair an average restitution of approximately $2,908 and lessees and former owners who do so restitution of $990.  




EZ-Coco, Inc. is a Wyoming Corporation that sells coconut openers and accessories online. The Attorney General received reports that some consumers never received the products that they had purchased online. The company agreed to resolve the matter by entering into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance prohibiting it from misrepresenting its ability to deliver merchandise or fulfill orders. The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance further requires EZ-Coco, Inc. to give consumers who have complained an opportunity to receive either a full refund or the product. The company must also fulfill the unfulfilled orders of all consumers who have not yet complained. 


Career Education Corporation

For-profit education company Career Education Corp. (“CEC”) agreed to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting more than $556.5 million in debts owed by 195,136 students nationally, in a settlement with the Wyoming Attorney and 49 other attorneys general. CEC has also agreed to pay $5 million to the states. The attorneys general alleged that CEC engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, including making misleading statements or failing to disclose information to prospective students on total costs, transferability of credits, program offerings, job placement rates, and other topics. As a result, some students could not obtain professional licensure and incurred debts that they could not repay nor discharge. CEC denied the allegations of the attorneys general but agreed to resolve the claims through the multistate settlement. 

183 Wyomingites who either attended a CEC institution that closed before Jan. 1, 2019, or whose final day of attendance at AIU or CTU occurred on or before Dec. 31, 2013 will receive $323,157 in institutional loan forgiveness. Former students with debt relief eligibility questions can call CEC at (844) 783-8629. 


2018

Randy Oaks, Billy Smith, and Steve Reynolds d/b/a Moxy Ranch Services (Docket No. 189-51)

Moxy Ranch Services offered sealcoating and asphalt paving services door-to-door in Laramie County during the summer of 2017. The Attorney General filed an enforcement action alleging that Moxy Ranch Services used misrepresentations to lure elderly Wyomingites into paying significant sums for substandard sealcoating and asphalt paving services. The Defendants agreed to resolve the matter through consent judgments prohibiting them from offering or performing asphalt paving services in Wyoming. The consent judgments further require the Defendants to provide $26,300 in consumer refund and pay $65,000 to the State. Lastly, the consent judgments impose suspended civil penalties totaling $188,150 which become due if the Defendants violate the terms of the consent judgments.   


Wells Fargo Bank N.A.

Wyoming joined all other states and the District of Columbia in a $575 million settlement with Wells Fargo Bank N.A. The settlement resolves claims that Wells Fargo Bank N.A. violated state consumer protection law by (1) opening millions of unauthorized accounts and enrolling customers into online banking services without their knowledge or consent, (2) improperly referring customers for enrollment in third-party renters and life insurance policies, (3) improperly charging auto loan customers for force-placed and unnecessary collateral protection insurance, (4) failing to ensure that customers received refunds of unearned premiums on certain optional auto finance products, and (5) incorrectly charging customers for mortgage rate lock extension fees. Wyoming received $1,603,894.35 from the settlement. 

As a part of the settlement, Wells Fargo will create a consumer redress review program through which consumers who have not been made whole through other restitution programs already in place can seek review of their inquiry or complaint by a bank escalation team for possible relief.  Wells Fargo's consumer redress review website may be accessed here

Consumers with questions or concerns may call the following Wells Fargo escalation phone numbers: 

  • Unauthorized Accounts/Improper Retail Sales Practices: 844-931-2273
  • Improper Renters and Life Insurance Referrals: 855-853-9638
  • Force-Placed Collateral Protection Auto Insurance: 888-228-9735
  • Guaranteed Asset/Auto Protection Refunds: 844-860-6962
  • Mortgage Interest Rate Lock Extension Fees: 866-385-5008

Encore Capital Group Inc., Midland Credit Management, Inc., and Midland Funding, LLC 

The Attorney General joined a 42 state settlement with Encore Capital Group Inc., and its subsidiaries Midland Credit Management, Inc. and Midland Funding, LLC, one of the nation’s largest debt buyers. The settlement resolves claims that Midland signed and filed affidavits in state courts in large volumes without verifying the information printed in them, a practice commonly called robo-signing.

The settlement requires Midland to reform its affidavit signing and litigation practices. Midland must carefully verify the information in affidavits and present accurate documents in court proceedings. When Midland files a lawsuit, it must have account documents about the debt before they file the case, including the amount of the debt, proof of an agreement, and an explanation about why any additional fees are justified. Moreover, if a consumer disputes a debt that Midland is collecting, the settlement requires Midland to review original account documents before it continues its collection efforts. Midland must provide these substantiating documents to the consumer for no charge. The settlement also requires Midland maintain proper oversight and training over its employees and the law firms that it uses. The agreement further prohibits Midland from reselling debt for two years.


Pinnacle Powerful Solutions LLC, Linda Pearson, and Ron Yung (Docket No. 190-299) 

Pinnacle Powerful Solutions, LLC is an out-of-state limited liability company that sells products purporting to reduce homeowners’ energy usage. Defendants lured consumers in through mass mailing campaigns promising free steak and savings of up to 40% on utility bills. The Attorney General filed an enforcement action against the company and its principals, Linda Pearson and Ron Yung, alleging that the defendants profited from misrepresenting the effectiveness of their merchandise, misrepresenting affiliations with NASA and with local steakhouses, and targeting the elderly.

 

Pinnacle Powerful Solutions, LLC, Linda Pearson, and Ron Yung agreed to resolve the matter through a Consent Judgment, which prevents them from selling home efficiency merchandise in Wyoming for 5 years. The Judgment also orders full refunds to every Wyoming consumer, totaling approximately $85,000. Finally, the Judgment imposes suspended civil penalties of $60,000, which become due if the Defendants violate the terms of the Consent Judgment.


Uber Technologies, Inc. (Docket No. 190-490)

The Wyoming Attorney General, along with the other 49 states and the District of Columbia, reached a settlement with California-based ride-sharing company Uber Technologies, Inc. (Uber) to address the company’s one-year delay in reporting a breach to its affected drivers. 

Uber learned in November 2016 that hackers had gained access to some personal information that Uber maintains about its drivers, including drivers’ license information pertaining to approximately 600,000 drivers nationwide and a small number of drivers in Wyoming. Uber tracked down the hackers and obtained assurances that the hackers deleted the information. However, even though some of that information, namely drivers’ license numbers for Uber drivers, triggered Wyoming law requiring the company to notify affected Wyoming residents, Uber failed to report the breach in a timely manner, waiting until November 2017 to report the breach. 

The settlement requires the company to comply with Wyoming data breach and consumer protection law regarding protecting Wyomingites’ personal information and notifying them in the event of a data breach concerning their personal information. The settlement further requires Uber to strengthen its corporate governance and data security practices to help prevent a similar occurrence in the future. As part of the multistate settlement, Uber has also agreed to pay $148 million to the states. Wyoming will receive a little over $570 thousand of that payment. 


Online Wealth Academy, LLC (Docket No. 187-933)

Online Wealth Academy, LLC was a Wyoming Limited Liability Company with a Cheyenne mailing address that sold “work at home opportunities.” Consumers reported that Online Wealth Academy, its owner Shon Earl, and its sales representative Lindsay Jensen (aka Lindsay Earl) promised substantial monthly income working from home if consumers purchased Online Wealth Academy’s merchandise. Consumers paid thousands of dollars to Online Wealth Academy, hoping the amount would be an investment in their future. In reality, Online Wealth Academy provided only a web-based training program about how to make online sales, through which no consumers made any money.

After conducting an investigation, the Attorney General alleged that Online Wealth Academy, Shon Earl, and Lindsay Earl violated the Consumer Protection Act by: 1) representing that consumers had given positive testimonials, when such testimonials were fabricated; 2) representing that consumers qualified for grants or scholarships, when no such grants or scholarships existed; 3) representing that consumers could cancel their contracts within three days of purchase, but refusing to issue refunds to those that attempted to cancel; 4) representing that the merchandise was accompanied by a “100% Satisfaction Guarantee,” but refusing to issue refunds to unsatisfied consumers; 5) representing that consumers were considered for an employment opportunity, when in fact Online Wealth Academy sought only to sell merchandise; and 6) engaging in unfair, high pressure sales tactics.

Online Wealth Academy, Shon Earl, and Lindsay Earl agreed to resolve the matter through a Consent Judgment that: 1) bans the defendants from engaging in “work at home” sales in Wyoming; 2) orders refunds of $168,000 to consumers; and 3) imposes civil penalties of $345,000 that become due if the defendants violate the terms of the Consent Judgment.



HuddleHQ and eComHQ Inc. are Wyoming corporations with Sheridan mailing addresses. The corporations sold retro game consoles online as Huddlebag. Consumers reported that Huddlebag advertised an authentic Nintendo game console but supplied a knock off of poor quality. Other consumers complained that Huddlebag accepted payment but delivered no product at all.

After conducting an investigation, the Attorney General alleged that Huddlebag violated the Consumer Protection Act by (1) representing that it had "24,000 + Happy Customers," when it had less than 24,000 consumers and produced more BBB complaints than any other Wyoming entity over the past five years; (2) representing that it sold an authentic and licensed Nintendo game console, when it sold a knock off; (3) advertising flash sales and significant discounts, when it consistently sold the game consoles for the same price; (4) soliciting and accepting payment from consumers for merchandise that it never delivered; (5) representing that shipping would take up to 12 days, when it often took much longer or never occurred at all; and (6) representing that merchandise had shipped and was on its way, when such was not the case.

Huddlebag agreed to resolve the matter through a Consent Judgment dissolving the two Wyoming corporations, banning their sole owner and officer from engaging in online retail sales in Wyoming, making more than 22 thousand consumers who purchased over 23 thousand game consoles eligible to receive refunds totaling more than $1 million, and imposing  over $1 million in suspended civil penalties that become due if Huddlebag violates the terms of the Consent Judgment.  


2017

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc (Docket No. 189-50)

The Attorney General, along with the attorneys general of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, reached a settlement with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“BIPI”) regarding alleged off-label marketing and deceptive and misleading representations made in the promotion of four prescription drugs. Specifically, the States allege that BIPI: (1) misrepresented that its antiplatelet drug, Aggrenox®, was effective for many conditions “below the neck”, such as heart attacks and congestive heart failure, and that it was superior to Plavix® without evidence to substantiate that claim; (2) misrepresented that Micardis® protected patients from early morning strokes and heart attacks and treated metabolic syndrome; (3) misrepresented that Combivent® could be used as a first-line treatment for bronchospasms associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and (4) falsely stated that Atrovent® and Combivent® could be used at doses that exceeded the maximum dosage recommendation in the product labeling and that they were essential for treatment of COPD. The settlement requires BIPI to ensure that its marketing and promotional practices do not unlawfully promote these prescription drug products. Wyoming received $130,125.43 from the settlement. 

General Motors Company (Docket No. 188-728) 

The Attorney General joined a settlement between the attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia and General Motors Company (“GM”) over allegations that GM concealed safety issues related to ignition-switch-related defects in GM vehicles. The settlement concludes a multistate investigation into the auto manufacturer’s alleged failure to timely disclose known safety defects associated with unintended key-rotation-related and ignition-switch-related issues in several models and model years of GM vehicles. Under the settlement, GM must refrain from engaging in false or misleading advertising related to the safety of its motor vehicles. The settlement further requires GM to make payments to the states. Wyoming received around $1 million from the settlement. 


Paul Fox and Marlan Fox offered paving services door-to-door in Wheatland, Wyoming, during the summer of 2016. The Attorney General filed an enforcement action alleging that the Foxes violated the Consumer Protection Act by misrepresenting the price, quality, and warranty of their services.  Furthermore, according to the Attorney General’s Complaint, the Foxes prevented an elderly consumer household from inspecting and discovering the substandard paving services before paying an exorbitant sum of money. The Foxes also failed to provide the statutorily mandated disclosures regarding a consumer’s right to cancel home solicitation sales. The Platte County District Court entered a Judgment prohibiting the Foxes from offering or performing paving services in Wyoming. The Judgment also requires the Foxes to provide $28,400 in consumer refunds. Lastly, the Judgment imposes the maximum civil penalty of $15,000 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act, a total of $225,000. 




John and Thomas Carroll offered asphalt paving services throughout Wyoming. The Attorney General filed an enforcement action alleging that the Carrolls misrepresented their affiliation and the quality and price of their services. More specifically, the Attorney General alleged that the Carrolls falsely represented that they worked on nearby roads and had extra road-quality asphalt they could install at a substantial discount because the leftover material would spoil if not applied soon. Consumers reported that despite these promises, the Carrolls performed substandard work at above-market-rates. The Attorney General further alleged that the Carrolls provided unfair and deceptive price estimates, employed high-pressure sales tactics, refused to honor promised warranties, and failed to provide consumers with statutorily mandated disclosures regarding the right to cancel home solicitation sales. The Carrolls agreed to resolve the matter through a Consent Judgment prohibiting them from offering or performing paving services in Wyoming. The Consent Judgment further requires the Carrolls to provide 16 consumer households with complete refunds totaling $167,854. If the Carrolls ever perform paving services in Wyoming again or fail to provide consumers with timely refunds, the Consent Judgment imposes a civil penalty of $200,000.00.

Gary Lee Slender, Gary Niklaus Slender, Sammy Whillie Slender, a/k/a Sam Slender and John Wayne Slender, d/b/a  Asphalt Services, Slender Home Maintenance, and Gary Slender Asphalt Services (Docket No.  2017-90-DC)


The Slenders offered paving and roofing services in Lincoln County, Wyoming. The Attorney General alleged that the Slenders violated the Consumer Protection Act by misrepresenting the quality of their services; performing services without first obtaining permission from the property owner and then demanding payment; failing to provide consumers with the statutorily mandated disclosures regarding their right to cancel home solicitation sales; and falsely representing to consumers that they were licensed and bonded to perform contract work in the state and relevant counties. The Slenders agreed to resolve the Attorney General’s investigation through a Consent Judgment requiring them to provide consumers with $8,768.00 in restitution and prohibiting them from offering or performing paving or roofing services in Wyoming. If the Slenders ever perform such services in Wyoming or fail to provide consumers with timely payments, the Consent Judgment imposes a civil penalty of $35,000.00.

Vivint, Inc. and Smart Home Pros, Inc., f/k/a Arm Security, Inc. (Case No. 2012-10)

The Attorney General reached a settlement with Vivint, Inc. and Smart Home Pros, Inc., formerly known as Arm Security, Inc. (together, “Vivint"). The settlement concludes a multi-year investigation of Vivint’s door-to-door sales of home security and automation systems. After that investigation, the Attorney General alleged that Vivint misrepresented the discounted price of its equipment and installation, failed to provide timely refunds after consumers cancelled within the three-day cancellation period provided by the Consumer Protection Act, and engaged in unlawful door-to-door sales tactics. These alleged sales tactics include making misleading statements, knocking on doors with “no solicitation” signs, visiting homes outside of hourly restrictions set by Wyoming municipalities, refusing to leave homes after homeowners indicated they were not interested, and entering homes and garages without permission.  Under the terms of the settlement, Vivint and its salespeople must refrain from engaging in the above-mentioned practices. Vivint must also pay $100,000 to the State of Wyoming. The settlement does not constitute an admission of liability by Vivint or a judicial finding of violation.

Arm Security Inc. Salespeople (Case No. 2015-11)

The settlement with Vivint follows earlier settlements with 18 individual Vivint salespeople over alleged violations committed during the 2015 summer sales season. The conduct of Vivint’s salespeople resulted in the City of Cheyenne denying Vivint’s request to renew its Residential Door-to-Door Solicitors Business License in June 2015. The salespeople agreed to pay penalties and comply with the Consumer Protection Act. 


Will Harrison Jr. (Docket No. CV-2017-28) 


Will Harrison Jr. offered asphalt paving services in Goshen County, Wyoming. The Attorney General’s Office alleged that Harrison took unfair advantage of an elderly consumer by performing work on the consumer’s property without permission and then demanding that the consumer pay $8,000.00 for the work. Harrison agreed to resolve the matter through a Consent Judgment.  Under the Consent Judgment, Harrison must provide the elderly consumer a full refund and may never offer of perform asphalt paving services in Wyoming. The Consent Judgment further imposes a suspended civil penalty of $35,000.00 that will become due if Harrison ever performs paving services in Wyoming or if he fails to provide timely refunds.


Rocky Spry d/b/a Spry Asphalt Construction and Spry Blacktop Service (Docket No.187-535)  


Rocky Spry offered asphalt paving services in northwest Wyoming under the names of Spry Asphalt Construction and Spry Blacktop Service. The Attorney General’s Office alleged that Spry misrepresented the quality of his services and used contracts that failed to include the statutorily mandated disclosures regarding a consumer’s right to cancel home solicitation sales. Spry agreed to resolve the allegations through a Consent Judgment requiring him to provide consumers with full refunds and prohibiting him from offering or performing asphalt paving services in Wyoming.  If Spry ever performs paving services in Wyoming or fails to provide timely refunds, the Consent Judgment imposes a civil penalty of $35,000.00.


The Western Union Company  


Western Union’s money transfer system is a popular tool of scam artists who seek to fraudulently induce money transfers. Common examples of fraudulently induced money transfers include the grandparent scam (scam artists pretends to be a grandchild in immediate need of a money transfer), lottery scam (scam artist falsely informs consumer he or she has won the lottery and must wire a transactional fee), and romance scam (scam artists expresses fake romantic interest and then requests a money transfer for an emergency). A multi-state investigation raised serious concerns about the adequacy of Western Union’s anti-fraud measures.  The settlement requires Western Union to develop and implement a comprehensive anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent incidents where consumers who have been victims of fraud used Western Union to wire money to scam artists.  Under the settlement, Western Union must also pay $5 million to the States. Additionally, the settlement references a concurrent federal settlement which requires Western Union to pay $586 million to fund consumer restitution to be distributed through a claims-based process. To learn more about the refund process, consumers should visit http://www.westernunionremission.com/ or call 1-844-319-2124.


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2016

Celluxe, LLC (Case No. 2015-18)

The Attorney General’s Office began an investigation into Celluxe, LLC, BuyCelluxe, LLC, DermActiv, LLC, BuyDermActiv, LLC, Delux Nutra, LLC (collectively “Celluxe”) after receiving consumer complaints about the failure to properly disclose the material terms of their online sales offers. Celluxe advertised and sold consumers skin care products on its websites. These websites advertised free “trial offers,” but failed to adequately disclose that Celluxe enrolled the consumer into a negative option continuity plan and automatically charged the consumer a monthly fee unless the consumer canceled the plan before the end of the trial period. The Attorney General’s Office alleged that by failing to adequately disclose the material terms of the offer, Celluxe violated the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act and the Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act. The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with Celluxe which requires Celluxe to provide clear and conspicuous disclosures of all material terms to consumers. 


Harding Fitness, Inc. (Docket No. 186-915) 

The Attorney General’s Office began an investigation into Harding Fitness, Inc. after receiving complaints from consumers regarding its business and billing practices. From 2012 to 2015, Harding Fitness, Inc., a Wyoming corporation, operated a health club franchise named Sedona Fitness for Women in Cheyenne. The Attorney General alleged that Harding Fitness routinely reduced the gym’s operation hours and canceled fitness classes without reducing the amount it billed members in monthly membership fees. In June of 2015, Harding Fitness permanently closed the gym; however, consumers complained that they continued to be charged for services after the business closed. The investigation by the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office revealed that Harding Fitness, Inc. violated the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act by billing for services not provided. 

Without admitting liability, Harding Fitness, Inc., and its President, Chaundra Harding, agreed to resolve the allegations through a Consent Judgment entered by the Laramie County District Court. The Consent Judgment prevents Chaundra Harding, for 10 years, from engaging in any consumer transactions in Wyoming in which she solicits or receives payments via electronic transfer of funds. Harding also agreed to refund certain consumers identified during the investigation. Further, the Consent Judgment imposes suspended civil penalties of $40,000.00 that become due if Harding fails to abide by the settlement terms. Additionally, after being made aware of the situation, the franchisor of Sedona Fitness promptly and voluntarily agreed to fully reimburse all members it separately charged after the gym closed in June 2015.



Volkswagen (Docket No. 186-958) 


The Wyoming Attorney General obtained a Consent Judgment resolving claims that Volkswagen allegedly violated Wyoming’s Consumer Protection Act by marketing, selling, and leasing diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed defeat device software. The consent judgment is part of a series of coordinated state and federal settlements that will provide cash payments to affected consumers, require Volkswagen to buy back or modify certain VW and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, prohibit Volkswagen from engaging in future unfair or deceptive acts and practices in connection with its dealings with consumers and regulators, and require Volkswagen to pay states for violating state consumer protection laws. Wyoming received $2.5 million from the settlement. More details about the coordinated settlements are available at www.VWCourtSettlement.com., and through the Federal Trade Commission website, www.ftc.gov/VWSettlement


Bedroom Guardian, LLC (Case No. 2016-04) 

The Attorney General initiated an investigation regarding Bedroom Guardian, LLC after consumers complained that the company did not clearly disclose information about the bed bug product offered on its website. Consumers reported that Bedroom Guardian, LLC failed to adequately disclose that customers would be subjected to monthly recurring charges, and misrepresented the nature and effectiveness of the actual product through false endorsements and testimonials. Pursuant to the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) entered into between the Attorney General’s Office and Bedroom Guardian, LLC, the company must provide notice to all of its Wyoming customers and offer refunds. Additionally, the AVC imposes a $10,000 civil penalty. 


USA Discounters, Ltd. 

The Wyoming Attorney General, along with 49 other state attorneys general, reached a settlement resolving claims that USA Discounters engaged in deceptive and unfair trade practices. More specifically, the Attorneys General alleged USA Discounters sold grossly overprice household goods primarily on credit through revolving or retail installment contracts with high interest rates and then engaged in abusive debt collection practices. The alleged debt collection practices include contacting service members’ chains-of-command and only filing lawsuits in a few Virginia jurisdictions, no matter the service member’s location, deployment status, or residence. These unlawful business practices, the Attorneys General claimed, were secured through misrepresentations and omissions in advertising, during the loan’s origination, and during the collection process. The settlement requires USA Discounters to provide certain affected consumers with consumer debt relief.  


Mike Marks d/b/a WY-CO Paving & Sealing (Docket No. 186-000) 

Mike Marks offers asphalt paving and sealing services through door-to-door solicitation under the name of WY-CO Paving & Sealing (“WY-CO”). The Complaint in this manner alleged that WY-CO violated the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act ("Act") by misrepresenting the grade and price of its services and by failing to provide buyers with documentation containing notice of the buyer’s right to cancel. The Complaint further alleged that WY-CO violated the Act when it solicited and accepted three deposits totaling $3,500.00 from an elderly couple and then failed to provide the promised service or return the deposits. WY-CO agreed to resolve the matter through a Consent Judgment that requires it to significantly reform its practices, provide consumers with full refunds, and pay civil penalties upon failure to reform its practices or provide consumers with timely refunds.



Wyoming, along with the Federal Trade Commission and agencies from all 50 states, obtained a permanent injunction dissolving two nationwide sham cancer charities, Cancer Fund of America Inc. (CFA) and Cancer Support Services Inc. (CSS), and banning their president, James Reynolds Sr., from profiting from any charity fundraising in the future under a settlement filed in court on March, 29, 2016. 

The agencies’ complaint, filed in May 2015, targeted four sham charities run by Reynolds and his family members that allegedly bilked more than $187 million from donors. CFA and CSS were responsible for more than $75 million of that amount. The complaint alleged that from 2008 to 2012, CFA and CSS spent only 2.8% of donations on cash and goods provided to cancer patients and nonprofits in the United States.  The other two sham charities settled in May 2015.

The settlement order imposes a judgment against CFA, CSS, and Reynolds jointly and severally, of $75.825.653, the amount consumers donated to CFA and CSS between 2008 and 2012. Included in this amount is $261,525.27 that 5,391 Wyoming consumers donated to CSS. The judgment against CFA and CSS will be partially satisfied via liquidation of their assets. The judgment against Reynolds will be suspended due to his documented inability to pay after he surrenders certain personal assets. 

The other defendants in the case were CFA’s and CSS’s chief financial officer and CSS’s former president, Kyle Effler; Children’s Cancer Fund of America Inc. (CCFOA) and its president and executive director, Rose Perkins; and The Breast Cancer Society Inc. (BCS) and its executive director and former president, James Reynolds II. Under settlement orders, Effler, Perkins and Reynolds II were banned from fundraising, charity management, and oversight of charitable assets, and CCFOA and BCS are in receivership and will be dissolved after their assets are liquidated.


Lexington Consumer Advocacy, LLC, Lexington Doc Prep, LLC, and Lexington, Feldman & Stern, LLC (Case No. 2015-23) (hereinafter “Lexington companies”) 

The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office began an investigation after consumers reported that the Lexington companies gave consumers the false impression that they could provide legal services, directly or by referral. The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance ("AVC") entered into between the Attorney General’s Office and the Lexington companies specifies that the Lexington companies cannot provide legal services, as they are not actual law firms. The Lexington companies were also providing student loan debt consolidation services. In some states, such as Wyoming, providing debt consolidation services for profit is prohibited. That service can only be provided by nonprofit companies or attorneys. The AVC also includes injunctive terms, requires that all Wyoming customers be refunded (approximately $5,700) and imposes a $10,000 civil penalty. 

*Note to students: Most federal student loans are eligible for consolidation for free through the U.S. Department of Education. Learn more about the Direct Consolidation Loan program here.* 



This matter addresses complaints of consumers who used MoneyGram’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers. Wyoming, along with 48 other states and the District of Columbia, reached a settlement with two main components.  First, MoneyGram agreed to maintain and continue to improve a comprehensive and robust anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent consumers from suffering financial losses as a result of these types of fraud induced wire transfers.  Second, MoneyGram agreed to provide consumer restitution to consumers who previously filed complaints with MoneyGram between July 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009 regarding fraud induced transfers sent from the U.S. to foreign countries other than Canada.  


The complaint alleged that Allen Fox was a transient paving contractor who promised consumers that he would give them a discount on driveway paving jobs because he had "left over" asphalt from other major paving jobs. Additionally, Mr. Fox would not provide written estimates and would deliberately confuse consumers about the expected price for the job, which could amount to 10 times what the consumers expected. The complaint alleged that Allen Fox violated the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act by making false and deceptive claims regarding the pricing for the paving jobs. The complaint also alleged that the Mr. Fox failed to comply with Wyoming's door-to-door solicitation requirements. The judgment requires that Mr. Fox comply with the terms of the Act and comply with the door-to-door solicitation laws. The judgment requires that Mr. Fox provide full and complete restitution to the affected consumers in the amount of $25,500. The judgment also imposes the maximum civil penalty for each of the four violations for a total civil penalty of $40,000. 


Wyoming and 39 other jurisdictions reached an agreement with for-profit education company Education Management Corporation (EDMC) requiring it to significantly reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgive $102.8 million in outstanding loan debt held by more than 80,000 former students nationwide, including $127,411 held by approximately 118 former students in Wyoming. The Consent Judgment mandates added disclosures to students, including a new interactive online financial disclosure tool; bars misrepresentations to prospective students; prohibits enrollment in unaccredited programs; and institutes and extended period during when new students can withdraw with no financial obligations.  

Wealth Network Solutions, LLC (Case No. 2016-03) 

Consumers complained that Wealth Network Solutions, LLC promised a great amount of income for participants in an online business offer, but the income failed to materialize. Consumers also complained that there were many undisclosed fees associated with the offer and that consumers sometimes ended up spending thousands of dollars in fees for an offer that first appeared to cost much less. 


The investigation revealed that Wealth Network Solutions, LLC appeared to be engaged in activity that would fall under the Multilevel Act as well as engaging in misrepresentations regarding the program offered. The company also appeared to misrepresent the costs and likelihood of generating income from the program. The company and its owner, Justin Sloan Rahn, agreed to enter into an agreement with the Attorney General prohibiting the objectionable activity. The company and its owner also paid a civil penalty of $10,000 and refunded the Wyoming customers.

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