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 | MASSPIRG | COVID-19, Consumer Protection

MASSPIRG calls for strong price gouging protections

BOSTON -- The Massachusetts Office of Attorney General held a hearing Wednesday on implementing stronger price gouging protections for consumers. MASSPIRG testified in support of Attorney General Maura Healey’s proposal to make permanent the emergency price gouging regulations put into place at the beginning of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

MASSPIRG Calls for Passage of Price Gouging Law

MASSPIRG called on the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure to pass S. 2652, An Act relative to preventing price gouging during an emergency filed by Senator Bruce Tarr. The bill would codify into law the emergency price gouging regulation, 940, CMR 3:18, that Attorney General Maura Healey issued on 3/20/20.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19, Consumer Protection

Statement: SBA data breach puts business owners at risk of ID theft and other fraud

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Tuesday that the personal information of nearly 8,000 business owners applying for federal disaster loans had been exposed. The breach affects applicants to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), and may have included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, email addresses, phone numbers, citizenship statuses and insurance information.

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Marriott discloses second security breach in 16 months

Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain in terms of guest rooms, disclosed Tuesday that up to 5.2 million customers were impacted by a security breach related to the company’s loyalty app.

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Marriott discloses second security breach in 16 months

Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain in terms of guest rooms, disclosed Tuesday that up to 5.2 million customers were impacted by a security breach related to the company’s loyalty app.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Massachusetts attorney general demands online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

Boston—Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Maura Healey joined a bipartisan group of 33 attorneys general, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro along with co-leading Attorneys General Hector Balderas (NM), William Tong (CT), and T.J. Donovan (VT), in sending a letter today urging the companies -- Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart -- to quickly implement preventative measures on their platforms to ensure that consumers don’t get taken advantage of during this public health crisis.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Voting Rights Advocates Applaud Emergency Election Legislation; Call for Additional Actions

MASSPIRG, Common Cause Massachusetts, MassVOTE, the ACLU of Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, Progressive Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Voter Table today praised emergency legislation allowing municipalities to delay their spring elections until June, and expanding absentee and early voting by mail, among other reforms. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Hack doesn’t absolve Equifax of being careless with consumers’ data

Congress must hold companies accountable for failing to protect condumers' confidential information.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Critical Product Safety Legislation Introduced in House by Representative Rush

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush releases legislation to increase transparency around important product injury and death data. 

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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.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

Stores nationwide are still offering dangerous and toxic toys this holiday season and, in some cases, ignoring explicit government safety regulations in the process. 

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Lead in Fidget Spinners

The MASSPIRG Education Fund found fidget spinners with high levels of lead for sale at Target stores in Massachusetts and across the country.

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Report | MASSPIRG Ed Fund, CARS Foundation, Center for Auto Safety | Consumer Protection

Used Car Roulette

One in four vehicles surveyed at eight CarMax locations contain dangerous, unrepaired safety recalls, a significant increase from 2015.

 

 

 

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

Protecting the People Who Protect US

How the CFPB protects and serves our military service members and their families.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

 

 

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

This FTC settlement must be a wake-up call to phone service providers so they do more to protect consumers. If not, the FTC must be vigilant in going after companies that enable the immoral practice of preying on consumers. And the FCC should require providers to block spoofed calls that we all know are scams.

Blog Post

Here’s a guide to your rights depending on how you pay

Blog Post

Being proactive and demanding can help keep you and your family safe

Blog Post

If the COVID-19 pandemic affects your ability to pay, here’s what you need to know

Blog Post

Good news: You may still be able to request a forbearance because of COVID-19

Consumer Protection

Auto Loan Complaints Rise

A review of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Complaint Database reveals a sharp spike in consumer complaints about auto purchasing, leasing and finance since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

Consumer Protection

MASSPIRG, Sen. Markey and other advocates call for air travel refunds

MASSPIRG, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.), Consumer Reports and other public interest advocates are calling for airlines to return cash to travelers who canceled their plans due to COVID-19. The groups delivered nearly 250,000 petition signatures urging major airlines to provide full refunds for these cancellations.

 

Consumer Protection

Food recall failure

Most grocery store chains are not warning their customers about dangerous food recalls. Find out if your store makes the grade.

 

Consumer Protection

More than 165,000 life-threatening infant sleepers recalled

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced on Jan. 29 that four companies have issued recalls for more than 165,000 inclined infant sleepers, which fail to meet the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The CPSC's recall is an important step forward — we're continuing to urge manufacturers to stop producing these sleepers for good.

 
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