Herring announces lawsuit against Virginia-based tax debt settlement company
Attorney General Mark Herring announced today that his office has filed a lawsuit against Wall & Associates, Inc., a Virginia-based company that sells tax debt settlement services to consumers nationwide, for alleged violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA).
“Consumers struggling with tax debt face difficult and sometimes confusing choices, and they shouldn’t be afraid that they’ll be misled by a company they’re going to to seek help,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “We contend that Wall & Associates offers easy answers, misleading consumers about its tax debt resolution services and how much debt settlement it can achieve, while charging them thousands of dollars in fees. My team and I will continue to hold those who take advantage of consumers accountable for their actions.”
Attorney General Herring is seeking restitution on behalf of affected consumers, civil penalties, attorneys’ fees, and asking the court to enjoin Wall & Associates from violating the VCPA. He is seeking civil penalties of up to $2,500 per willful violation, with the exact number of violations to be determined during trial proceedings.
The lawsuit alleges that Wall & Associates took thousands of dollars in large up-front and monthly payments from consumers, while misleading them about the effectiveness of its services, the qualifications of its employees, and the time it would take to resolve consumers’ tax disputes. Attorney General Herring specifically contends that Wall & Associates violated the VCPA by, among other ways, deceiving consumers about:
- Its average results obtained for consumers, including false claims that Wall’s average client settles for about 10 percent of their tax debts owed or that Wall has unusually high acceptance rates for its settlement offers;
- How long cases would take and how much consumers ultimately would have to pay in total monthly fees, which usually cost consumers hundreds of dollars per month;
- Its employees’ tax-related experience, qualifications, and abilities, including by mischaracterizing its salespeople as “tax consultants” or “tax experts,” and claiming that employees were authorized, qualified, or certified to practice before the Internal Revenue Service or state tax authorities, when they were not; and
- Its physical business presence nationwide, including using temporary rental offices in locations across the country for its sales pitches, to give consumers the false impression that the employees working on their tax disputes were local, when they operated only out of Virginia and Tennessee.
Consumers who believe they have been injured by Wall & Associates should file a complaint with Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section as soon as possible. For information about filing a complaint, to get a complaint form, or to submit a complaint online, consumers should go to the Attorney General’s website: Online Complaint Form. Consumers with questions or who need assistance can contact us:
Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section is handling this matter. During Attorney General Herring’s administration, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section has undergone a significant reorganization and expansion, and recovered more than $224 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators.
If you have any consumer-related inquiries, the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline telephone counselors are available to assist you with your consumer questions. Please call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-552-9963 if calling from Virginia, or 804-786-2042 if calling from the Richmond area. You can also subscribe to the Consumer Protection Quarterly Newsletter here.