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Door-to-door meat sales company settles with Commonwealth

virginiaAttorney General Mark R. Herring announced today that he has reached a settlement with Capital Meats Inc., a wholesale meat seller formerly based in Frederick County, to resolve allegations that the company violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act by misleading customers about its products and violated the Virginia Home Solicitation Sales Act by failing to provide customers with a proper notice about their right to cancel a sale within three days and by making it more difficult for customers to cancel their order within the three day “cooling off” period required by law.

“Door-to-door sales can be a useful way to find out about products or services available in your neighborhood, but too often the tactic is abused by scammers who have no intention of following through on the sale,” said Attorney General Herring. “The most important thing to do in any interaction that feels suspicious is to stay calm and resist the pressure to make a quick decision. You can always take a salesperson’s contact information and follow up later. If you make a purchase you regret, Virginia law gives you the right to cancel most door-to-door sales within three days.”

The settlement, filed with and approved by the Frederick County Circuit Court, will prevent Capital Meats from engaging in any future violations of the Consumer Protection Act or the Home Solicitation Sales Act. Capital Meats also will be required to pay a civil penalty of $2,500, and to reimburse the Commonwealth $1,500 for its attorneys’ fees and costs. Capital Meats previously refunded individual consumers for their losses.

Virginians have important rights protecting them from fraudulent door-to-door sales. Door-to-door sales scams often appear following severe weather and other natural disasters when people need home repairs, tree or snow removal, or other services.

While many offers may be legitimate, remember these tips when someone comes to your door to sell you something:

  • Resist pressure. High pressure sales tactics are often a part of fraudulent activity. Do not be hurried or intimidated. The salesperson is at your door uninvited and remains there only at your courtesy. You can always ask for their contact information, consider the offer, and follow up at a later time.
  • Know who you’re dealing with. Be extra cautious about letting someone into your home. Never let anyone into your home without first asking for identification. If you’re considering purchasing a good or service, try to vet the company with friends, neighbors, Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Database, or a quick online search.
  • You have three days to change your mind unless you waive that right. Under Virginia law, you have three days to cancel sales made at your home if the product or service costs $25 or more. In an emergency you may waive that right, but you should think very carefully before doing so and read anything you are asked to sign very carefully.
  • Document as much as possible and avoid paying in cash. If you decide to purchase from or use the services of a door-to-door solicitor, get all information and promises in writing and use a credit card, if possible.

As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Herring and hisrecently reorganized Consumer Protection Section have launched a weeklong campaign to help Virginians understand their rights as consumers, and to help Virginia businesses understand their responsibilities to their customers. His consumer protection section has successfully brought enforcement actions against predatory lendersretailers exploiting veterans and military familiesfake charities, and anticompetitive mergers. During Attorney General Herring’s administration the OAG Consumer Protection Section has won approximately $147 million in consumer debt forgiveness, $24.8 million in restitution, and $32 million in civil penalties and attorneys’ fees, and transferred nearly $7 million to the Commonwealth’s General Fund.

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