California Attorney General Bill Lockyer sued H&R Block in February 2006, alleging the company's refund anticipation loan (RAL) business violated state and federal laws in its marketing and providing of high-cost RALs mainly to low-income clients. The company responded that it "believes the refund lending program is both fair and legal, and will vigorously defend against the complaint". On January 2, 2009, California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. reached a $4. 85 million settlement with H&R Block, which prohibits the company from deceptively marketing high-cost refund anticipation loans as early "tax refunds". The company set aside $2. 45 million in restitution for customers if they purchased a "refund anticipation loan" or a "refund anticipation check" through H&R Block between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2008. In addition, H&R Block agreed to pay $500,000 in penalties and $1. 9 million in fees and costs. In 2011, H&R Block ceased offering RALs altogether, a move praised by consumer rights activists.