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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

This New Year, Celebrate the CFPB | Ed Mierzwinski

This month, we published our 8th report based on analyzing consumer complaints collected in the CFPB's Public Consumer Complaint Database. The release of "Big Banks, Big Overdraft Fees" provides a good year-end opportunity to summarize a few of the reasons to be thankful for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which took over in July 2011 as the first federal regulator with just one job: protecting consumers from unfair financial practices. The idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

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Statement on Procter & Gamble’s New Preservative Tracker in Personal Care Products

Personal care product giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) recently unveiled a new preservative tracker, which lets consumers know which preservatives are included in various categories of P&G’s products, such as baby wipes, skin care, and hair care products. Consumers can search the tracker by ingredient or by product type.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Federal Trade Commission to America’s used car buyers: Drop Dead.

Consumer and safety organizations blasted the FTC Commissioners’ decision, announced today, to finalize consent orders with GM and the Lithia and Koons auto dealership chains that will allow them to advertise that unrepaired recalled used cars with lethal safety defects are “safe,” have been “repaired for safety,” passed a “rigorous inspection” and qualified to be sold as “certified” cars without repairing the safety defects, if they merely include a meaningless disclosure that the cars “may” be under an  open recall.  In addition, FTC has proposed the same settlement with CarMax and  other dealers. 

 

 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Yahoo Data Breach: Another Reason for Free Credit Freeze | Deirdre Cummings

Yahoo data breach affects more than 1 billion consumers. We must have better solutions. 

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News Release | Consumer Protection

Yahoo Data Breach Presents Opportunity for Strong Response

Statement by Mike Litt at the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, on the latest announced Yahoo data breach.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

New Report: Consumers Should Get Security Freezes Before Next Data Breach

Credit monitoring and other services that are usually offered to data breach victims and other concerned consumers do nothing to prevent identity theft; they only detect certain types of fraud after it has occurred. A report and consumer fact sheet released today by the MASSPIRG Education Fund aim to increase the awareness and use of the security freeze, also known as a credit freeze. The report explains that the freeze is the only security measure that can prevent new account identity theft.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Food

Consumer Group, Activists Hold ‘Thank You’ Events in Front of Subway

On October 20th Subway announced that it is making the shift to serving meat raised without antibiotics. The sandwich giant will serve only antibiotic free chicken by the end of 2016, with a shift on turkey by 2019, and pork and beef completed by 2025. The decision came in anticipation of a petition delivery to headquarters of more than 270,000 petition signatures by MASSPIRG staff and other advocacy groups. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

PIRGs, Others Ask CFPB & FTC To Investigate Experian/T-Mobile Data Breach

In a letter sent today, a number of state PIRGs and other leading privacy and consumer groups urged the CFPB and FTC to fully investigate the recent breach of an Experian subsidary that exposed 15 million T-Mobile customer and applicant records to the threat of new account identity theft. The letter asked whether the regulators could require Experian and the other two nationwide credit bureaus -- TransUnion and Equifax -- to give victims free security freezes to protect their credit reports.

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Media Hit | Tax

These eight Massachusetts companies have used offshore tax havens

 Tax havens are legal, but proponents of tax reform say eight companies headquartered in Massachusetts are using them and costing the state millions of dollars in revenue.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Tax

Study: 72% of Fortune 500 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2014

 

Tax loopholes encouraged more than 72 percent of Fortune 500 companies – including 8 companies head quartered in Massachusetts – to maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens as of 2014, according to “Offshore Shell Games,” released today by MASSPIRG Education Fund, and Citizens for Tax Justice. Collectively, the companies reported booking nearly $2 trillion offshore for tax purposes, with just 30 companies accounting for 65 percent of the total, or $1.35 trillion.

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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 | 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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Blog Post | Democracy

Why Target is still a target | Janet Domenitz

We believe in a campaign financing system that represents the American democratic values of one person, one vote. We believe that, in a democracy, the size of your wallet should not determine the power of your voice. But when corporations are allowed to spend unlimited cash to influence the outcome of an election, the voices of ordinary citizens are drowned out. It’s like we’re standing on a soap box and they’ve got the entire Carnegie Hall speaker system.

But we can fight back – we can hold accountable corporations that choose to muck around in our democracy. That’s why we’re supporting the shareholder resolution filed by Green Century Funds at Target Corporation, a resolution that demands the corporation put an end once and for all to its risky and irresponsible use of shareholder money to influence elections.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Bottle Bill Update Special Event | Janet Domenitz

Join Bottle Bill Update advocates and supporters to show your support for this important legislation!  Over the past few weeks, members of the Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill have been putting together a Scorecard showing every state legislator's position. At this event, we'll be feature the release of Legislative Scorecard showing majority support. We have approximately 7 weeks left to get the bill through and we need to tell the legislature that we want this bill to come for a vote!

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Salem Citizens Call on Keenan to Update the Bottle Bill | Janet Domenitz

Citizens in Salem are clamoring for the Updated Bottle Bill. Check out this Letter to the Editor from the Salem News:

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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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