For Businesses : Consumer Assistance Program : University of Vermont

University of Vermont

Consumer Hotline:  Toll Free In VT (800) 649-2424 or (802) 656-3183

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For Vermont Businesses 

Cyber Security
Project
Cause-related Marketing
Gift Cards and Certificates
Unsolicited Merchandise
Vermont Origins
Pure  Vermont Program
Complaints by Businesses
For Lawyers and Businesses


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Please contact us directly with any questions you may have or to share your thoughts and ideas as to how our office can best provide outreach to businesses.

Check out the For Businesses brochure!

News 

Guidance on the Use of Gender in Pricing of Goods and Services

GE Guidance and FAQs

State Advises Solar Companies About Deceptive Advertising

Attorney General's Office Warns About Out Of State Business Soliciting Money On Behalf  Of Local School

Attorney General Releases Guidebook For Vermont's Nonprofits

Vermont Businesses Targeted: Wire Transfer Fraud Imposter Scam

Attorney General Warns of Phony Power Disconnection Calls

Attorney General Warns Vermont Schools of Deceptive Invoice Mailings for Unauthorized Book Orders

Vermont Businesses to Receive Restitution as Result of Attorney General's Settlement of Claims

Out of State Business Soliciting Money on Behalf of Local School

AG Settles Lawsuit Against VT Festival Organizer

VT Wins First Round of Patent Troll Case

School Project Request for Funding Scam

Vermont Urges Supreme Court to Overturn Federal Circuit Standard for Recovery of Attorneys' Fees in Patent Litigation

"Patent and Trademark" Company Settles with Vermont Attorney General over Deceptive Mailings

Businesses Beware of Phony Electric Service Disconnection Calls

Vermont Attorney General Sues "Patent Troll" in Groundbreaking Lawsuit

Attorney General's Office Warns About Fraudulent Advertising Scam

"Trademark Monitoring" Company Settles Over Deceptive Mailings

Data Security Workshop for Small Businesses

Two Canadians Settle Over Unauthorized Billing

Merchant Service Center to Pay for Negative Option Letters Sent to VT Small Businesses

Company that Charged Business Phone Bills Settles

Attorney General Recognizes Price Chopper Associate for the Pure Vermont Award

More Topics from the Newsletter



Business Credit vs. Personal Credit
Gift Card Options

Starting a business?

Visit the Secretary of State's Business Start-Up Guide website for forms and information you need to get your business rolling!

Tax Questions?

Visit the Vermont Department of Taxes online for information and ways to file and pay taxes online.

CAP is for Businesses too

Vermont's Consumer Protection Statute protects businesses too!  The statute defines "consumer" to include businesses that are the consumer in a transaction, such as when purchasing goods or services that are not for resale.

Some issues reported to our office by businesses include:  
Businesses that have a consumer issue they would like assistance with can File a Complaint with CAP.

Scams

Vermont businesses encounter scams.  One of the more common scams received by businesses is a fake threat of urgent utility disconnection.  Protect your business from this scam and others by maintaining scam awareness throughout your organization.

Graph showing scams of businesses

The following are explanations of the scams identified in the "Scams Reported by Businesses in Vermont" graph:

Utility Disconnection Threats:  Typically phone calls, demanding urgent payment or to prevent utility disconnection.
Unsolicited/Fake Invoices:  Typically arrive in the mail worded deceptively that what is really a solicitation appears to be bill that the business must pay.
Fake Order of Goods/Services:
 Scammers contact the business posing as a consumer who makes an order, but then overpays and requests the business to send a portion of the money back either by wire transfer or through reloadable credit card.
Imposter of Business Personnel: Impersonates business representative or owner and usually asks for money to be bank wired.
IRS Debt Collection:  This scam is calling everyone, claiming they owe back taxes.  It's usually a robocall, so businesses receive these as well, whether or not the scammer intended to contact the business.
Phishing:  Attempts to obtain identifiable information from the business.  Variations include requesting business financial info as well as requesting consumer credit card information.
Listing Expiration Calls:  Usually a robocall, claiming the business' online listing has expired.  It may even claim to be Google calling.
Telemarketers and Solicitors:  Unwanted solicitation phone calls and cold-calls that businesses receive despite continuous requests to cease contact.
Advanced-Fee Loan Offer:  
Claims a no interest or low interest loan is available and requires an advanced payment.
Fake Representation of an Organization:  
Contacts business with fake credentials, often claiming to be a Government entity (not IRS).
Advertising Promotion Schemes:
 Requests for businesses to place an ad for their business to support a cause or other organization, but the advertisement is never placed and/or does not actually benefit the cause.

Data Security Breaches

The Attorney General’s Security Breach Notification Guidance explains the steps that businesses and other data collectors should take in the aftermath of a security breach.  The Guidance explains the requirement to provide preliminary notice of the breach to the Attorney General within 14 days of the breach, and to notify consumers in the most expedient time possible, but in no event longer than 45 days. 

Pure Vermont Award Program

The Pure Vermont Award Program recognizes Vermont individuals, businesses and organizations that are leaders in promoting fairness in the marketplace, caring for the community and helping their neighbors. To find out more, or nominate an individual, business or organization for the award, visit our Pure Vermont page.

Legislative updates, new rules and reminders for businesses

Both legislative and administrative rule changes affect your business, and our office can help provide guidance on finding the information you need to operate in compliance with market requirements. Below you will find links to resources and information on some of these issues. For more information, contact us.

Unsolicited merchandise protection for Vermont businesses

Changes to the law passed in the 2012 legislative session now prohibit a business from being charged for unsolicited merchandise or services by another business. Have you received an invoice for products you didn't order? Contact us or file a complaint online for assistance!

Cause-related Marketing

Are you thinking of partnering with a non-profit organization to expand your marketing reach and support a cause? Recent changes to the law may apply. Find out more about cause-related marketing requirements to ensure your marketing plan is in compliance with the law.

Gift Cards and Certificates

Recent changes in Vermont law bring Vermont's rules on gift cards and gift certificates in line with recent changes in Federal requirements. The amendments address expiration and refund provisions in the law. In summary, gift cards/certificates generally:
  • Cannot have an expiration date sooner than 5 years from the date of issuance
  • Must have any expiration date printed on the gift card/certificate - if not printed, no expiration is permitted
  • Must be refunded after the expiration date if any funds remain
  • If promotional, may only have an expiration less than 5 years for the promotional (non-paid) amount of the gift card/certificate.
Know the law! For a detailed explanation of the amended law, see our page on Gift Cards and Gift Certificates.

Vermont Origins

Is your product a Vermont product? Vermont law has specific requirements as to the use of the Vermont brand, particularly with respect to food products, that extend to displays of products or merchandising in stores. See the link above for the specific rules, and contact us if you have questions about complying with the rule.

More...

You can find a list of Vermont's Consumer Protection Rules and more information for lawyers and businesses, including guidance materials on the Attorney Generals website.  Some materials are included below:

     Charitable Nonprofit Board Guidance
     GE Food Labeling Rule Guidance and FAQs  
     Renewable Energy Marketing Guidance     
     Security Breach Notification Guidance
     Solar Marketing Guidance
     Use of Gender in Pricing of Goods and Services

Have a Question, Comment, or Concern?

If you have a question, comment, or concern about consumer issues that was not answered here, we want to hear from you!  We are interested in learning about areas of issue that are greatest concern to businesses currently.  Please email us at consumer@uvm.edu with your input.  We would like you to be a part of making this section of our website more comprehensive and complete.

Last modified April 06 2017 01:56 PM

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