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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Predatory Loans & Predatory Loan Complaints

This is the seventh in a series of reports that review complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In this report, we explore consumer complaints about predatory loans, categorized in the database as payday loans, installment loans, and auto title loans.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

New National Safety Council Data Show 20% Percent Increase in Motor-Vehicle Fatalities in Massachusetts Compared to 2015

 

New data released from the National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit, non- governmental public service organization chartered by Congress to promote health and safety in the United States, found a troubling increase in the number of motor-vehicle fatalities during the first half of 2016.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

Fifteen Organizations Support Complaint Filed Over Eliminated MBTA Late-Night Service

Fifteen organizations have issued letters supporting the complaint filed to the Federal Transit Administration in July by the Conservation Law Foundation, Alternatives for Community and Environment and Greater Four Corners Action Coalition. The complaint asked the FTA to compel the MBTA to implement an alternative to the cancelled Late-Night Service that would reduce the disproportionately high and adverse effects cancelling Late-Night Service had on low-income and minority riders.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Food

Fight for GMO Labeling Continues

(Northampton) Local, state, and federal officials joined leading public health, food and consumer advocates pledging to continue the fight for food transparency with meaningful GMO labeling while denouncing the recently passed, industry backed, national GMO labeling law, also known as the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know). 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Consumer Advocates call for Airline Reforms

MASSPIRG commends U.S. Senator Ed Markey for demanding answers from the big airlines about their repeated system failures that ruin both business and leisure travelers’ plans, cost us money and time and don’t seem to be getting any better.

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Media Hit | Food

Our View: Speak out in favor of GMO labeling

Standard Times endorses GMO Labeling

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News Release | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Consumer Protection

TOP 10 LIST: HOW THE CFPB WORKS FOR CONSUMERS

MASSPIRG Celebrates CFPB’s 4th Birthday on Tuesday, July 21, with New Webpage

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

New Report: Mortgage Problems Rank #1 at CFPB for Consumer Complaints

Mortgage problems were the top source of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), according to a report released today by the MASSPIRG Education Fund. The report also found that Bank of America was the most complained about company in Massachusetts for mortgage problems. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

WE COMMEND CFPB FOR ADDING CONSUMER STORIES TO PUBLIC COMPLAINT DATABASE

Yesterday, the CFPB published the first batch (7,700) of consumer narratives or stories to the Public Consumer Complaint Database it began in 2011. We've used the database to publish five reports (so far) analyzing complaint trends in markets ranging from credit cards to student loans but we have also long urged the voluntary addition of stories to the data fields. Now, consumers can learn if what happened to them happened to anyone else. Now, researchers can track which banks are more responsive to particular problems and which ignore their customers. A good resource is now an excellent resource.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

In Wake of OPM’s Poor Response to Data Breach, MASSPIRG Launches Public Education Campaign for the more than 45,000 Federal Employees in Massachusetts

In light of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) poor handling of data breaches reported earlier this year, MASSPIRG staff and volunteers did a lunch hour “literature drop” today, handing out identity theft tips to federal employees at the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston. 

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The Failure Of Cable Deregulation

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 restructured the entire telecommunications industry and left virtually all cable subscribers without protection from unrestricted rate hikes.

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Who's Watching The Watchdogs?

Conflicts of interest and lack of independent funding have doomed both the national and state level accounting oversight systems in the United States. The state accounting boards and the network of overlapping, mostly self-regulatory federal accounting overseers act as classic regulators, serving management instead of serving investors and taxpayers.

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Deflate Your Rate

At the end of the year 2000, U.S. households were accruing interest on $574 billion of revolving credit card debt, or debt carried over to the next month rather than paid off entirely.

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Report | Solid Waste

Where There's Smoking, There's Fire

Across the nation, over 1,000 people are killed and 3,000 injured as a result of cigarette fires each year. These fires cause more than $400 million in property damage. In Massachusetts alone in 2000, 1,280 fires were attributed to cigarettes. Those fires killed 17 people, injured 81 civilians, and wounded 61 firefighters in the line of duty. Insurers and property owners lost over $9.3 million due to the same blazes. Despite igniting 5% of the 24,931 reported fires in 2000, cigarette fires killed 17 civilians, or 22% of all civilian fires deaths

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Report | Budget

Major League Steal

The Red Sox are proposing to construct a 44,130 seat stadium on 15 acres of land adjacent to the present Fenway Park. The Owners of the Red Sox are poised to seek a minimum of $250 million in state and local taxpayer subsidies for the $600 million plus project.

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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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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Big Win For Updated Bottle Bill in Senate | Janet Domenitz

In the spirit of the upcoming Olympics, the Massachusetts Senate earned a gold medal tonight when they passed the Updated Bottle Bill.  Senate President Therese Murray,  longtime sponsor Senator Cynthia Creem, amendment author Senator Robert Hedlund, and the whole Senate is to be congratulated for passing the update, which is overwhelmingly popular with the public, small businesses, cities and towns, and a majority of state legislators. For 14 years, the bill has been stalled in various committees. Getting the Updated Bottle Bill through the Senate has now completely shifted the momentum toward victory.

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Blog Post | Health Care

Governor was wrong to weaken health cost law | Deirdre Cummings

"Letting the restaurant, hospitality and convention industries set health care policy makes about as much sense as asking a pig to calculate the orbits of Jupiter’s moons.”
The Quincy Patriot-Ledger just put out a fantastic editorial on the recently passed law allowing drug reps to wine and dine physicians and other medical professionals.

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Blog Post | Health Care

At Stake: What’s on the Line for Health Care Consumers in the Pending Supreme Court Case | Deirdre Cummings

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have far reaching impacts on consumers. The law is already working to improve the quality of care and reduce costs, with millions of Americans experiencing concrete improvements in their coverage. Further improvements are slated to go into effect in 2014 – including a ban on insurance companies denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and the opening of competitive state health insurance marketplaces called “exchanges” aimed at giving consumers better choices for coverage, two reforms already working successfully here in Massachusetts.

While much of the national health care reforms were modeled after reforms already adopted  in Massachusetts, we still benefit from from some of the national reforms.  In this issue brief, we highlight the number of people the ACA has helped so far and the costs already saved to illustrate what’s at stake for Massachusetts consumers in the pending Supreme Court case.

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Defend the CFPB

Tell your senators to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

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