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Wasden recovers a record $8 million for Idahoans

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today released his annual Consumer Protection report for 2011. His office recovered a record $8 million in consumer restitution last year.

In addition, the Consumer Protection Division recovered $2.5 million in penalties, fees and costs; received more than $24 million from a tobacco settlement; and returned $1.5 million in unspent consumer protection money to the general fund.

“Our most significant work in 2011 was in two areas: mortgage foreclosure and pharmaceutical pricing,” Wasden said in a news release.

Wasden said mortgage-related complaints decreased more than 120 percent last year. His office received 116 mortgage complaints for the year, down from 261 in 2010. Still, the mortgage category remained at number one on the Attorney General’s top 10 consumer complaint list, in a tie with motor vehicles.

“This may be due to improvements in the federal Making Home Affordable Program, greater public awareness of mortgage modification options, a decrease in foreclosure filings during 2011, and the proactive steps that we have taken in the Attorney General’s Office,” Wasden said.


With the national foreclosure crisis hitting Idaho especially hard, Wasden’s office conducted an in-depth study of mortgage and foreclosure issues and issued a comprehensive report in early 2011. That report led Wasden and the Idaho Banking Association to propose House Bill 331.

Enacted last year, this new law requires lenders to notify borrowers in writing of their opportunity to request a mortgage loan modification review and to notify borrowers in writing of postponed trustee’s sales. The law also prohibits for-profit mortgage modification companies from operating in Idaho unless licensed by the Idaho Department of Finance or exempt from such licensing.

In 2010, complaints against mortgage modification companies ranked No. 6 on the top 10 list of complaints. This year the category did not generate enough complaints to make it onto the list.

Here is the AG's top 10 complaint for 2011:

The Idaho Attorney General’s 2011

Top 10 Complaint List

 

Category

2011

Complaints

2010

Complaints

1

Loans & Mortgages

 

Motor Vehicles

116

 

116

261

 

100

3

Work-At-Home Programs

71

27

4

Cable/Satellite Services

70

83

5

Directory & Ad Space

48

27

6

Collections

40

39

7

Landlord/Tenant Issues

37

33

8

Internet Sales

34

43

9

Magazine Subscriptions

 

Membership Plans & Clubs

31

 

31

24

 

30

 

All Other Complaints

435

705

 

Total Complaints Received

1,028

1,312


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