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

Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Lawmakers and Groups Support GMO Labeling | Deirdre Cummings

Over 50 Legislators and hundreds of comunity groups support the passage of a GMO food labeling bill in MA. Check to see if your lawmaker is a supporter.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Consumer Protection, Food

Consumers Call on Stop and Shop to Label GMOs, On Anniversary of Whole Foods Labeling Commitment

Consumer and health and food safety advocates launched a campaign calling on Stop and Shop to label its store-brand products for ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the one year anniversary of Whole Foods’ announcement that it will adopt labeling for all products in its stores.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Consumer Protection

Debt Collectors, Debt Complaints: The CFPB's Consumer Complaint Database Gets Real Results for Consumers

Debt collectors trying to collect debt from the wrong person were the top source of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), according to a report released today by the MASSPIRG Education Fund. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Consumer Protection

Mistaken Identity Tops Debt Collection Complaints

Massachusetts Consumers Getting Relief through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Public Consumer Complaints Database

> Keep Reading

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WCVB TV - Recycle All Bottles

Twenty-seven years after the passage of the Massachusetts bottle bill, the Legislature is considering expanding its provisions to cover noncarbonated bottles and cans of water, iced tea, juices and energy drinks. We think it's a good idea and about time.

> Keep Reading

The Boston Globe - Redemption made easier

Broadening the Massachusetts bottle bill to include these other containers has been a top priority for environmentalists. But many retailers worry about the additional processing a broader law would require and have opposed it. Now a container-redemption service in Maine has demonstrated how to recycle large quantities of cans and bottles in a way that does not greatly inconvenience either consumers or stores.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

College Students Overwhelmingly Support Steps To Address Aggressive Credit Card Marketing On Campus

Students overwhelmingly support limits on campus credit card marketing, according to the results of a nationwide MASSPIRG survey of over 1500 students at 40 colleges in 14 states, including UMass-Boston, Mass College of Art, and Mass Bay Community College.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Rates to Increase for Many Good Drivers and to Decrease for Bad Drivers

Under the new “managed competition” auto insurance rating system in Massachusetts, many good drivers will receive rate increases and many bad drivers will receive large rate decreases, based on factors having nothing to do with their driving records, according to a new report entitled ‘How You Drive’ Takes A Backseat to ‘Who You Are’:  (Mis)Managed Competition in the New Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Market, released by two consumer groups – the Center for Insurance Research and MASSPIRG.

> Keep Reading

Good Housekeeping - Give the Gift of Safe Toys

GH asked the experts how you can make wise choices — and still make your children's dreams come true.

 

> Keep Reading

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Every year, millions of Americans have their cars towed without their consent from a private property or public street. Too often, the unknown rationale behind these tows and what to do next can leave drivers stranded and confused. While getting towed is a justified consequence of parking in the wrong place or for too long, most states don’t offer drivers the decency of basic consumer protections such as access to their wallets or medicine, or maximum rates for towing and storage. And that doesn’t even take into consideration those times when drivers believe they’re towed improperly.

MASSPIRG Education Fund identified 14 common sense towing protections that should be available to consumers in every state.  

News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund

BOSTON -- Every year, millions of Americans have their cars towed without their consent from a private property or public street. Too often, the unknown rationale behind these tows and what to do next can leave drivers stranded and confused. While getting towed is a justified consequence of parking in the wrong place or for too long, most states don’t offer drivers the decency of basic consumer protections such as access to their wallets or medicine, or maximum rates for towing and storage. And that doesn’t even take into consideration those times when drivers believe they’re towed improperly.

News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

A month after announcing a weak plan to reduce heavy metals in baby food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new plan Thursday aimed at making baby food safer over the next several years.

Blog Post

We can't let this chance to restore vital consumer protections slip through our fingers.

Blog Post

You have six weeks to file your income tax return for 2020. Every year, it seems there are more issues to watch out for. 

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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