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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

It happened 4 years ago this weekend, and Congress has already forgottenDeirdre CummingsEd Mierzwinski

Four years ago, on September 14-15, 2008, the Lehman Brothers investment bank declared bankruptcy while Bank of America acquired another foundering investment bank, Merrill Lynch -- major events that froze the financial markets and led in a few days to a $700 billion bailout of the financial system. Just four years later, some in the Congress have forgotten that real people and the economy are still suffering from the financial collapse, as it steps up Wall Street-backed efforts to prevent regulators from protecting the public.

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Media Hit | Budget, Food, Tax

Farm Bill needs to Cut the Fat

Of the $277 billion spent on agricultural subsidies since 1995, 75 percent of the total went to just 3.8 percent of U.S. farmers, skewed towards the largest farms — not small family farms. Massachusetts consumers’ share of the cost for junk food subsidies is about $22.6 million each year on average, compared with just under $800,000 in subsidies for apples. That’s enough to buy 61 million Twinkies, but only 1.6 million apples.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Consumers Seeing Benefits of Credit CARD Act Protections | Deirdre Cummings

The MASSPIRG-backed Credit CARD Act improved consumer disclosures, protected college students and young people from unfair marketing and also banned the worst tricks used by credit card companies. In particular, it made it much harder to trick or force consumers into paying late fees, and so, as the story explains:
"Customers are also happier when it comes to both annual fees and penalty fees charged by credit card companies. When it comes to penalty fees, “One of the reasons the score is getting better is because fewer customers are having their late fees increased,” says Jim Miller, senior director of J.D. Power’s banking practice."

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Before You Fly, Know the Fees | Deirdre Cummings

Planning on flying out of Logan any time soon? Check out this great survey by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs of all the extra fees each airline charges consumers – including fees to reschedule flight, baggage fees, seat assignment fees, pet fees and others.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Health insurers’ earnings plunge for 2nd quarter

Deirdre Cummings, legislative director for the nonprofit Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, said that while premium increases have been moderating, businesses and individuals still haven’t felt sufficient relief after enduring a decade of soaring premiums.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Rates to Increase for Many Good Drivers and to Decrease for Bad Drivers

Under the new “managed competition” auto insurance rating system in Massachusetts, many good drivers will receive rate increases and many bad drivers will receive large rate decreases, based on factors having nothing to do with their driving records, according to a new report entitled ‘How You Drive’ Takes A Backseat to ‘Who You Are’:  (Mis)Managed Competition in the New Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Market, released by two consumer groups – the Center for Insurance Research and MASSPIRG.

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News Release | MASSPIRG

Report Shows Retailers Misleading Consumers on the Digital Television Transition

MASSPRG conducts survey of national TV retails stores and finds that consumers are getting Mixed Signals.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Health Care

New Coalition Launched to Lower Health Care Costs

At a State House news conference, MASSPIRG joined The Massachusetts Prescription Reform Coalition in launching an effort to lower health care costs through reforming the prescription drug industry.

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Good Housekeeping - Give the Gift of Safe Toys

GH asked the experts how you can make wise choices — and still make your children's dreams come true.

 

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