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

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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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Legislature Considers Proposals to Preserve Internet | Deirdre Cummings

MASSPIRG urges SH committe to preserve an open internet, preserve Net Neutrality.

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News Release | masspirg | Consumer Protection

MA House Passes Important Consumer Protection Bill

MA House passes bill to protect consumers from ID theft. Includes free credit freeze and thaw.

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CHAIRS UNABLE TO AGREE ON POPULAR EQUIFAX BILL

Committee drops the ball on key consumer issue.

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High lead levels found in water at hundreds of schools

Hundreds of Massachusetts schools found to have lead in drinking water.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Latest CFPB Complaints Report Shows 316% Increase in Student Loan Servicing Complaints for Massachusetts Students

United States House of Representatives Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (TX) will hold a Wednesday hearing on his so-called Financial Choice Act 2.0.  The bill leaves Massachusetts consumers and our economy even more vulnerable to Wall Street's recklessness than before the '08 crisis by taking aim at all of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act’s protections caused by unfair bank practices abetted by regulatory failures.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

New report from leading consumer group shows millions are victims of aggressive tactics from medical debt collectors

MASSPIRG, released the ninth in a series of reports that review complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  The latest report explores consumer complaints about medical debt, a major source of problems for consumers, since medical debt items on credit reports are often wrong or about the wrong consumer.  The report also demonstrates the need to defend the CFPB from partisan and special interest attacks.

 

 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

IF THE CFPB IS WEAKENED, WON’T THE CREDIT BUREAUS RUN AMOK (AGAIN?)

Credit Bureaus' accuracy will decline without CFPB oversight and enforcement of consumer protection laws. 

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Lagging Behind

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the nation. Every week a new security breach of consumers' sensitive personal information exposes thousands, if not millions, of Americans to identity theft. These breaches are mostly the result of sloppy business practices by large corporations and government entities, and fuel the problem of identity theft.

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Can You Hear Us Now?

In the summer of 2004, MASSPIRG surveyed 874 of its members to gauge Bay State consumers’ satisfaction with their cell phone service. This survey reveals that cell phone companies are not providing Massachusetts customers with the level of service quality that subscribers expect.

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Trouble in Toyland

Toys are safer than ever before, thanks to decades of work by product safety advocates and parents and the leadership of Congress, state legislatures and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Nevertheless, as parents venture into crowded malls and browse for the perfect toy on the Internet this holiday season, they should remain vigilant about often hidden hazards posed by toys on store shelves.

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Report | Center for Insurance Research | Consumer Protection

The Limitations of a Competitive Auto Insurance Market

Auto insurance markets are atypical. To illistrate this, it is helpful to compare the market for auto insurance with the market for refrigerators. The market for refridgerators is an excellent example of an efficient market. The auto insurance market, in sharp contrast, is a very inefficient one, at least from the consumer’s perspective, and is unlike most markets . .

 

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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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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Don’t get spooked by phantom debt collectors | Jeanne Foy

The phone rings and a scary voice on the other end tells you that you owe them money and need to pay up… or else. The caller leads you to believe that a recent loan you took out has come due and that its time to pay or face legal action. Frightening, right?

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As CFPB Advances Consumer Protection, Attacks on CFPB Escalate | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the CFPB took a major step toward establishing a regulation restricting the use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts, which give companies what the CFPB's director said was a "free pass from being held accountable by their customers." Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, powerful bank interests escalated their campaign to defund and defang the bureau, because it works for consumers, not them.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Massachusetts GMO Labeling Bill Public Hearing and Press Conference | Deirdre Cummings

On Tuesday Sept. 22 at 1:00pm, there will be a public hearing on Massachusetts' GMO labeling bill, H.3242 in the State House (Gardner Auditorium). Before the hearing, MASSPIRG is hosting a press conference on Boston Common (near Park St. Station) to show how much support the bill has.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

TIPS FOR OPM & OTHER DATA BREACH VICTIMS-WHAT CAN YOU DO TO AVOID IDENTITY THEFT & OTHER HARMS? | Janet Domenitz

The latest breach of up to 18 million or more federal government employee files held by U.S. OPM is an example of everything that's wrong with data security and data breach response mechanisms today. Agencies and companies hold too much information for too long and don't protect it adequately. Then, they wait months before informing victims. Then, they make things worse by offering weak, short-term help such as credit monitoring. Our main message: your best protection against identity theft is the security freeze, not the often-offered, under-achieving credit monitoring.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

THE MORE I HEAR ABOUT OPM DATA BREACH, THE LESS I KNOW, EXCEPT THIS: IT'S BAD | Ed Mierzwinski

Was it 4 million, 14 million or 18 million records breached (how many times) (likely) by Chinese hackers? Whose fault was it? The USOPM director says no one's. Really? Perhaps the worst data breach ever raises lots of questions, but I haven't heard any good answers. Federal employees, their families, their friends and their neighbors -- because all of them could be victims -- deserve better answers, just as they deserve better service than USOPM's credit monitoring provider is giving them.

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News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- Consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding vehicle loans and leases have increased sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by the MASSPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group. The analysis suggests that consumers in Massachusetts and across the United States are facing abusive and deceptive practices from the automobile lending industry. 

Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding vehicle loans and leases have increased sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by the MASSPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group.

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

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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