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 | Consumer Protection, Food

The Fight Continues to Label GMOs

Coalition of advocates in support of labeling foods  that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) announced that it will redouble its efforts to pass GMO labeling legislation in the next session. 

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Consumers should not be denied basic information of a GMO label

MASSPIRG argues why Boston Globe Editorial has it wrong on GMO food labels.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

The CFPB at Three: A Child Prodigy | Ed Mierzwinski

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) turned just three years old Monday, July 21st, but when you look at its massive and compelling body of work, you must wonder: Are watchdog years like plain old dog years? Is the CFPB now a full-sized, 21-year-old adult? The answer is no, not yet. The CFPB is still growing and developing and adding programs and projects. The CFPB is, however, at three years old, certainly a child prodigy. Despite overwhelming public support, however, powerful special interests continue to attack it. Yet, the idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Food

Petition Containing Nearly 40,000 Signatures and Messages of Support for GMO Food Labeling Delivered to Speaker DeLeo

MASSPIRG along with a coalition of consumer, community, farming and public health organizations delivered 38,292 petition signatures to House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) calling for passage of GMO labeling bill. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Food

Majority of State Legislators Support GMO Food Labeling

MASSPIRG and other consumer, community, farming and public health organizations working to pass a GMO food labeling law announced that a majority of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate have pledged their support for GMO food labeling legislation curerntly pending in the House. In total, 142 Massachusetts legislators – including 119 from the House of Representatives and 23 from the Senate – have signed on in support of GMO food labeling legislation. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

Improved Financial Reform Bill Moves to Senate Floor

Chairman Christopher Dodd and a majority of the Senate Banking Committee voted on Monday evening to move a Wall Street reform package to the Senate floor.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Auto Insurance Companies Caught Overcharging Consumers

MASSPIRG praised Attorney General Martha Coakley’s action today to stop companies from systematically overcharging consumers.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

Historic New Credit Card Rules Ban Tricks and Traps

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act (Credit CARD Act) bans hair-trigger interest rate increases and other unfair credit card practices. The Act goes into effect today and makes it illegal for credit card companies to profit by tricking customers into paying late and then tripling the interest rate on their balances.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

House Stands With Consumers Against Big Banks

The House of Representatives passed historic financial reform legislation on Friday. This reform is an important step towards protecting consumers and taxpayers from reckless financial practices.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

House Votes on Historic Wall Street Reforms

Boston, MA – MASSPIRG urged all members of the House of Representatives to oppose bank-backed efforts that would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, the centerpiece of Wall Street reform efforts proposed by Congressman Barney Frank, which are expected for a vote on the House Floor tomorrow.

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Report | MASSPIRG

It’s that time of year again when parents, grandparents, caregivers and others feeling generous begin shopping for toys for the kids in their lives. Toy safety has come a long way, thanks to years of work from consumer advocates, public health experts, elected officials and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These days, examples of dangerous toys contaminated with lead or toys with small parts that pose a choking hazard to young children are more difficult to find in the United States.

Despite this progress, dangerous toys are still on the market. As we approach the ninth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents and caregivers in the United States still work from home while their kids participate in virtual learning some or all of the time. With siblings of all ages playing and spending more time together and parents juggling responsibilities with limited support, some dangerous toys are more difficult to supervise, and others are better left out of the home altogether.

News Release | MASSPIRG

MASSPIRG Education Fund’s Trouble in Toyland report has helped identify dangerous toys for 35 years. But 2020 is unique, and as Americans have worked, learned and played from home to protect themselves from COVID-19, children could be more susceptible to certain toy-related hazards.

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.

Blog Post

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

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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