Types of Complaints Handled by BBB
BBB handles the following types of complaints between businesses and their customers so long as they are not, or have not been, litigated:
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On October 7, 2015, Lumber Liquidators, headquartered in Toano, Virginia plead guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division to 1 felony and 4 misdemeanors for violating the Lacey Act brought against them by the United States of America Department of Justice.
Under the Lacey Act "importers of timber products are required to complete a Plant and Plant Product Declaration, commonly referred to as a "PPQ-505" or a "Lacey Act Declaration," and submit that declaration to the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service." The Lacey Act Declaration also "requires a truthful description of the timber product imported, including the genus and species, the total amount of timber product, and the country from which the timber was harvested. The declaration is intended to promote the exercise of due care sourcing by importers, as well as provide data used by regulatory and enforcement bodies to inform compliance efforts."
According to court documents between the dates of February 1, 2013 through August 30, 2013 Lumber Liquidators violated the Lacey Act by importing illegally-harvested timber. The violations include:
- Entry of Goods by Means of False Statements (the timber the company imported was reported as being Mongolian oak harvested in Germany),
- Transport of Illegally Imported Timber (knowingly transported plants from the company's warehouse in Toano, Virginia and elsewhere to online customers and retail stores in Virginia and other states, which had been transported from China to Norfolk, Virginia), and
- Import of Illegally Harvested Timber (knowingly transported plants originating from Far East Russia).
According to the Plea Agreement, Lumber Liquidators was fined $7,800,000, has to make two community service payments totaling $1,230,825, pay $969,175 in forfeiture relating to the sale of certain Mongolian oak flooring, $3,155,000 forfeiture in lieu of certain birch and oak hardwood flooring, and make a one-time payment each for the following National Fish and Wildlife Foundation projects $500,000 for Timber Identification Technology, $380,825 for Amur Leopard Conservation and $350,000 for Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation, and was placed on a five year probationary period in which they have to implement an Environment Compliance Plan and for the first four years of the probation period have an outside accounting and/or environmental consulting firm conduct three audits of all aspects of the compliance requirements and recommendations.
Please click on the following links: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1396033/000114420415058462/v421764 ex10-1.htm for further details or to read the complete Plea Agreement.