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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Will Wells Fargo CEO Tell Senate "No Clawbacks" of Exec's Golden Parachute? | Ed Mierzwinski

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf goes before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday (9/20) to explain the recent $185 million in combined civil penalties by the CFPB and other regulators over a sales goals incentive scandal that led to employees opening some 2 million fake, secret accounts without the knowledge of customers. How will he respond to the growing public clamor for a clawback of bonuses paid his top retail executive Carrie Tolstedt, whose retirement with a $125 million golden parachute package had been announced earlier this summer? 

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Recalled auto parts can be replaced, our lives cannot

FTC considering settlement allowing car dealers to sell unsafe cars. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Wall Street Ramps Up Attacks on Wall Street Reform | Ed Mierzwinski

On Friday, the House overwhelmingly approved a Wall Street-driven proposal to weaken oversight of private equity firms, taking a chunk out of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. But wait, there's so much more: On Tuesday the House Financial Services Committee takes up the so-called "Financial Choice Act," which eviscerates most of Dodd-Frank's key reforms, from stripping powers of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to repealing the Volcker Rule, which reins in risky betting practices that use depositors' money. As for the CFPB (which just this week issued its biggest fine to date, $100 million against Wells Fargo Bank for opening hundreds of thousands of fake and secret consumer accounts to meet sales goals), the proposal would defund and defang it and delay or stop its efforts to rein in unfair practices of payday lenders, debt collectors and banks. Many of the Financial Choice Act's provisions also pose threats as budget bill "riders."

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Record $100 Million CFPB Penalty Order Against Wells Fargo Bank For Illegal Sales Practices

On September 8 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a record $100 million civil penalty plus consumer restitution against Wells Fargo, among the nation’s largest banks, for a series of unfair and abusive sales practices by “thousands” of employees that included opening “secret” accounts for “hundreds of thousands” of existing customers, solely to meet sales goals to receive financial incentives. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Higher Ed

ITT TECH CAN NO LONGER DECEIVE STUDENT BORROWERS

College’s harmful student practices cause it to shut down.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Tax

Lawmakers Call for Closing Off Shore Tax Haven Loophole

As Tax Day approaches tomorrow, it’s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers and specifically small businesses pick up the tab for offshore tax loopholes used by many large multinational corporations. MASSPIRG was joined today by Representatives Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury) and Lenny Mirra (R-West Newbury), Senator Mark Montigny (D-NewBedford) and Massachusetts Fair Share to release a new study by the MASSPIRG Education Fund revealing that the average Massachusetts small business owner would have to pay an extra $4,031 in state and federal taxes to make up for the money lost in 2014 due to offshore tax haven abuse by large multinational corporations and to call for the passage of a state bill to close one of the loopholes.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Public Health

Some Good, Some Bad in Obama Administration Plan to Protect Antibiotics

Tomorrow the National Task Force for Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria will release a five-year action plan to tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.  The plan will take several positive steps but largely miss an opportunity to call for critical reforms on antibiotic use on livestock.

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News Release | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Budget, Tax

Massachusetts Receives "A" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Massachusetts received an ‘A’ when it comes to government spending transparency.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Public Health, Consumer Protection

McDonald’s announces plan to cut overuse of antibiotics in chicken

McDonald’s announced a new policy today to curb the overuse of antibiotics in chickens purchased to make McNuggets and other McDonald's products. Within two years, farming operations supplying McDonald’s USA restaurants will be prohibited from routinely administering medically important antibiotics to chickens, a practice that is commonplace even when animals are healthy.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Transportation for Massachusetts, Conservation Law Foundation, and MASSPIRG Release 2nd Installment of Keeping On Track

T4MA, CLF and MASSPIRG release report on progress of funding and reforming transportation in Massachusetts.

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Blog Post

Testimony in support of maintaining the current Food Store Item Pricing Law | Deirdre Cummings

The food store item pricing law requires supermarkets to put price stickers on most items in supermarkets. It is a long-standing, efficacious, and overwhelmingly popular consumer protection. MASSPIRG does not oppose stores adopting newer pricing technology such as electronic shelf display systems and self service price scanners with certain controls. However, we do oppose legislation that would allow stores to substitute a pricing mechanism that offers less consumer benefit than what we have today. In considering any change to our current retail pricing system, it must first provide equal or better benefits to the consumer to be considered as a substitute. The six proposals before you today do not provide equal or improved consumer benefits.

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Blog Post

Testimony in Support of Closing the Telecom Tax Loophole | Deirdre Cummings

This hearing comes just days before the deadline to file our taxes, and each year at about this time, Bay Staters have an opportunity to reflect about taxes and how our tax dollars get spent. Some may use the occasion to complain about their taxes or government, others may object that public structures like schools, roads, and health inspections need more public funds than they receive. Whatever your perspective, Tax Day and our tax bills are far more palatable when we feel confident in the tax system; that there is inherent fairness in the system; and no one group or individual gets unintended or unreasonable tax breaks.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

MASSPIRG Urges Senate To Oppose Anti-Consumer Bill | Deirdre Cummings

This bill would turn back the clock on consumer protection over a quarter of a century by once again requiring an out-of-pocket loss of money in order for a consumer to collect damages under the state Consumer Protection Act, Chapter 93A. It would also eliminate consumers’ rights to join together to fight unfair practices.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

MASSPIRG urges the Division of Insurance to reduce annual auto insurance premiums | Deirdre Cummings

The Division of Insurance should use their authority and resources to Identify and adopt a comprehensive plan to reduce the state's underlying costs, including our high accident rate. The reforms to reduce the state's costs and accident rate must involve state and local government, the insurance industry, police, drivers and insurance regulators.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Testimony in Opposition to bills which would weaken or repeal the Food Store Item Pricing Law | Deirdre Cummings

There’s no question that Massachusetts’s heavily regulated auto insurance system has problems. But our strict regulations are not the cause of its worst feature, the ultra-high premiums drivers pay. The blame for that belongs to Massachusetts’s ultra-high accident rate. Massachusetts has the dubious distinction of having the highest accident rate in the country by far – an astounding 40% higher than the state with the second-highest rate, Rhode Island. Even improving our worst-in-the-nation accident rate to second worst could drop our premiums by nearly 30%, or about $300 on average per car, producing over $1 billion in statewide savings.

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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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