If Cuccinelli Cared About Consumer Protection

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    He’d take the lead on combating the fraud of the new “professional” credit cards. There’d be a hard look at lending practices that allow the payday and refund lending industry to exceed the maximum interest limits. The Attorney General’s website would show him instead of Bob McDonnell as Attorney General.

    The last Consumer Alert of the Month wouldn’t be December 2009. The link to the “Nigerian Bank Account Scams” would not take the user to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) webpage where another link must be selected; it would link to the SEC page for the Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud. The link to FAQs on Consumer Fraud would not navigate to a general page that includes one on “Why Virginia is suing the federal government over the new health care law” (a political statement on a state website). The Virginia Consumer Guide would be updated with a cover letter from the current rather than the former Attorney General. It would contain links to relevant online resources. It would include warnings about debt relief schemes, their effects on income tax, and the outcomes of bankruptcy. There would be a mortgage foreclosure step by step for after it happens rather than “Prevention Tips.” No one who thinks about foreclosure in time to prevent it comes looking for foreclosure prevention help.

    By the way, those new “professional” credit cards also known as small-business or corporate credit cards, aren’t covered under the Credit Card Accountability and Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (Card Act). There is a The Wall Street Journal article this morning that provides plenty of information about this scheme that allows the predatory practices that the Card Act was designed to stop: hair-trigger interest rate increases, shortened payment cycles and inactivity fees. Suddenly anyone qualifies as a small business. But the Attorney General is oblivious to this scheme that will defraud thousands of Virginians. And he doesn’t have a clue about advising the legislature concerning leaks in the payday lending law. It has to do with numbers and math, so maybe he ought to contact the ABC Store vultures for some crafting of the formula for annual percentage rates; or not.