Consumer Protection

PROTECTING CONSUMER SAFETY—Toys should not be toxic or dangerous for children to play with. Our food should not make us sick. The terms for banking and credit accounts should be clear and easy to understand.

LOOKING OUT FOR CONSUMERS

MASSPIRG’s consumer program works to alert the public to hidden dangers and scams and to ban anti-consumer practices and unsafe products.

TROUBLE IN TOYLAND

For 30 years, MASSPIRG’s "Trouble In Toyland" report has surveyed store shelves and identified choking hazards, noise hazards and other dangers. Our report has led to at least 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years.

Get our tips for avoiding dangerous toys.

BIGGER BANKS, BIGGER FEES

In April, MASSPIRG released a report in which we surveyed more than 350 bank branches and revealed that fewer than half of branches obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers, while one in four provided no fee information at all. We also found that despite widespread stories about the “death” of free checking, free and low-cost checking choices are still widely available, if consumers shop around.

Find out how to beat high bank fees.

PROTECTING YOUR SECURITY AFTER DATA BREACHES

Data breaches expose victims to serious personal and financial risks. Fortunately, there are steps consumers can take to protect themselves before and minimize the damage done after their personal information has been exposed. 

See all consumer resources.

Issue updates

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

Equifax penalty is a “sweetheart deal” that leaves consumers at risk

Our response to Equifax paying a $650 million penalty for exposing the social security numbers of 148 million Americans to identity theft.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Car Dealers Attack Massachusetts Protections Against Dangerous Recalled Used Cars

Leading consumer advocates testified before the State House Joint Committee on Consumer Protection today against a bill that would drastically weaken state consumer protection laws by allowing car dealers to sell dangerous used cars with unrepaired safety recalls. The bill, which is part of a nationwide push by car dealers and their trade associations, allows car dealers to sell recalled used cars if they merely provide a “written disclosure” (in English only) “at the time of sale” that the vehicles have an unrepaired safety recall.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Time to pass the Student Loan Bill of Rights in Massachusetts | Deirdre Cummings

I was joined today by Ryan Powell, a UMASS Boston student and chapter chair of Mass Student PIRG to urge a State House Committee to pass S.160, An Act Establishing a Student Loan Bill of Rights, filed by Senator Lesser.  The bill will protect student loan borrowers from unfair, predatory, and deceptive practices of student lending and loan servicing companies. Read our testimony below.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

MASSPIRG calls for free open college textbooks | Deirdre Cummings

MASSPIRG called on state legisaltive committee to prioritize free open college text books over commercial digital books with access codes.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

State PIRGs go to Washington for Consumer Lobby Day

Members of Congress hear repeatedly from lobbyists for corporate special interests in their offices and at fundraisers. How can consumer advocates balance the scales?

> Keep Reading

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

Equifax penalty is a “sweetheart deal” that leaves consumers at risk

Our response to Equifax paying a $650 million penalty for exposing the social security numbers of 148 million Americans to identity theft.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Car Dealers Attack Massachusetts Protections Against Dangerous Recalled Used Cars

Leading consumer advocates testified before the State House Joint Committee on Consumer Protection today against a bill that would drastically weaken state consumer protection laws by allowing car dealers to sell dangerous used cars with unrepaired safety recalls. The bill, which is part of a nationwide push by car dealers and their trade associations, allows car dealers to sell recalled used cars if they merely provide a “written disclosure” (in English only) “at the time of sale” that the vehicles have an unrepaired safety recall.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Fisher-Price recalls nearly 5 million potentially deadly Rock n’Play sleepers

Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million Rock n’Play baby sleepers on Friday. U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog Adam Garber issued a response: "“While we’re pleased that Fisher-Price is finally recalling these dangerous sleepers, 30 deaths in 10 years is 30 deaths too many and 10 years too late."

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

New study: Wells Fargo, other banks, charge outsized fees to college students despite federal rules

Students at colleges compensated by banks face dubious debit card fees 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Consumer Protection

Statement on Wells Fargo’s response to “Debit Cards on Campus” report

Read U.S. PIRG's statement on Wells Fargo eliminating some fees for student on debit cards.

> Keep Reading

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30 years of toy safety

For the past thirty years, our sister organization U.S. PIRG Education Fund has taken a close look at the safety of toys sold in stores. Their reports have led to more than 150 regulatory actions. In November 2015, they released our 30th annual Trouble in Toyland report.

> Keep Reading

Keeping Dangerous Toys Off Store Shelves

Toxic chemicals, including lead and hormone-disrupting phthalates, are now banned in toys, thanks to a law we worked alongside our delegation to help pass in Congress. The same law requires regulators to test toys and infant products for safety before they hit store shelves.

> Keep Reading

Locking Out Identity Thieves

In the wake of failures in data security on the part of data dealers and credit card companies, we worked to convince the Legislature to pass one of the nation’s strongest laws to prevent identity theft in 2007.

> Keep Reading

Demanding Action From Big Tobacco

Lives have been saved by the Fire-Safe Cigarette Bill MASSPIRG helped to pass in 2006. The law requires cigarette manufacturers to make cigarettes with paper that burns slower to prevent fires started by cigarettes.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

MASSPIRG releases 33rd anual toy safety report at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. This holiday season, watch out for dangerous and toxic toys. MASSPIRG’s 33rd annual Trouble in Toyland report found toxic amounts of boron in slime products and a failure by Amazon to appropriately label choking hazards. Boron can cause nausea, vomiting and other health issues.

> Keep Reading

Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide

With this Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide, parents, teachers, and students can make more informed decisions while shopping for school supplies this Back to School season. We want to give parents and teachers the option to choose school supplies that do not contain toxic chemicals. This Shopping Guide should serve as a handy tool for finding products free of several types of toxic chemicals.

 

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Equifax Breach: 1 Year Later

A year ago, Equifax announced that hackers had breached its system and accessed the data of nearly 150 million U.S. consumers. To mark the anniversary of that notorious announcement, MASSPIRG called on state lawmakers to pass the pending Security Breach Bill, H4806,  and released a new report containing suggestions on how lawmakers, regulators, and consumers can safeguard personal information.

> Keep Reading

Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide

With this Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide, parents, teachers, and students can make more informed decisions while shopping for school supplies this Back to School season. We want to give parents and teachers the option to choose school supplies that do not contain toxic chemicals. This Shopping Guide should serve as a handy tool for finding products free of several types of toxic chemicals.

 

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Joint Statement on Eversource Rate Case in Massachusetts

In January 2017, Eversource filed its first complete rate case in many years. After a lengthy proceeding, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued two orders addressing Eversource’s proposals, one in November of 2017 and the other in January of 2018. Despite widespread opposition from parties in the rate case, the DPU approved four major proposals from Eversource that are bad for ratepayers and move us away from a future with consumer control and widespread local clean energy.

> Keep Reading

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Time to pass the Student Loan Bill of Rights in Massachusetts | Deirdre Cummings

I was joined today by Ryan Powell, a UMASS Boston student and chapter chair of Mass Student PIRG to urge a State House Committee to pass S.160, An Act Establishing a Student Loan Bill of Rights, filed by Senator Lesser.  The bill will protect student loan borrowers from unfair, predatory, and deceptive practices of student lending and loan servicing companies. Read our testimony below.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

MASSPIRG calls for free open college textbooks | Deirdre Cummings

MASSPIRG called on state legisaltive committee to prioritize free open college text books over commercial digital books with access codes.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

State PIRGs go to Washington for Consumer Lobby Day

Members of Congress hear repeatedly from lobbyists for corporate special interests in their offices and at fundraisers. How can consumer advocates balance the scales?

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Congressional testimony underscores how predatory auto loans are driving Americans into debt

In most of the country, owning a car is all but required. And we're paying for it—to the tune of $1.2 trillion. This is putting the financial well-being of millions of Americans at risk, and MASSPIRG and our national network are calling for change.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

MASSPIRG Calls on Legislature to Pass Energy Efficiency Bill | Deirdre Cummings

MASSPIRG urges Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy to support  S. 1986/H. 2832 An Act relative to Energy Savings Efficiency filed by Senator Lewis and Representative Cutler and a bipartisan group of 100 legislators. 

The bill updates energy and water efficiency standards for common household and commercial appliances. Efficiency standards ensure that the products we purchase use less energy and water, save money and protect public health.

 

 

> Keep Reading

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

State PIRGs go to Washington for Consumer Lobby Day

Members of Congress hear repeatedly from lobbyists for corporate special interests in their offices and at fundraisers. How can consumer advocates balance the scales?

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Congressional testimony underscores how predatory auto loans are driving Americans into debt

In most of the country, owning a car is all but required. And we're paying for it—to the tune of $1.2 trillion. This is putting the financial well-being of millions of Americans at risk, and MASSPIRG and our national network are calling for change.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health, Consumer Protection

How safe is our food? Not safe enough, says PIRG Consumer Watchdog team, and it's trending in the wrong direction

Unsafe food recalls in the U.S. are trending the wrong way. From 2013 to 2017, they rose 10 percent overall, and a whopping 83 percent for the most hazardous meat and poultry recalls.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

1 Year After Equifax Data Breach, Here's Everything You Need To Know

One year after announcing the biggest data breach in history, Equifax still hasn’t been held accountable or provided the information and tools consumers need to protect themselves. Since Equifax won’t help protect consumers, MASSPIRG is stepping in.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Our response to Equifax paying a $650 million penalty for exposing the social security numbers of 148 million Americans to identity theft.

News Release | MASSPIRG

Leading consumer advocates testified before the State House Joint Committee on Consumer Protection today against a bill that would drastically weaken state consumer protection laws by allowing car dealers to sell dangerous used cars with unrepaired safety recalls. The bill, which is part of a nationwide push by car dealers and their trade associations, allows car dealers to sell recalled used cars if they merely provide a “written disclosure” (in English only) “at the time of sale” that the vehicles have an unrepaired safety recall.

Blog Post

I was joined today by Ryan Powell, a UMASS Boston student and chapter chair of Mass Student PIRG to urge a State House Committee to pass S.160, An Act Establishing a Student Loan Bill of Rights, filed by Senator Lesser.  The bill will protect student loan borrowers from unfair, predatory, and deceptive practices of student lending and loan servicing companies. Read our testimony below.

Blog Post

MASSPIRG called on state legisaltive committee to prioritize free open college text books over commercial digital books with access codes.

Blog Post

Members of Congress hear repeatedly from lobbyists for corporate special interests in their offices and at fundraisers. How can consumer advocates balance the scales?

Consumer Protection | U.S. PIRG

Campus debit cards cost students over $24 million in fees

Report shows how campus debit cards — along with how they are marketed — are putting students' financial well-being at risk across the country.

 

Consumer Protection | U.S. PIRG

The real price of medications

The results of our investigation of variations in prescription drug prices may surprise you.

 

Consumer Protection | U.S. PIRG

Driving into debt

The hidden costs of risky auto loans to consumers and our communities

 

Consumer Protection

Congressional investigation concludes that Equifax breach was entirely preventable

The worst data breach in history could have been prevented with some basic security measures.

 
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