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

USA Today - Safe cigarettes sometimes snuffed

Most of the 300 to 350 seniors killed each year in cigarette fires die in private homes. But cigarettes also are the leading cause of fire deaths in institutions that care for seniors. A USA TODAY analysis of more than 100 fatal fires since 1999 in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and senior housing shows that about 50% began with a cigarette.

> Keep Reading

Paying Back, Not Giving Back

American colleges and universities play a pivotal role in training the nation's citizens, leaders, innovators, public servants and educators. In today's economy, a college education is more desirable than ever before - millions of high school students strive for its promise and the benefits it brings for both the individual and society.

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The Food Safety Net

Protecting the safety and integrity of the food supply is one of the oldest functions of government, one that the American people expect their government to perform and perform well.

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The 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.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Testimony in Opposition to bills which would weaken or repeal the Food Store Item Pricing Law | Deirdre Cummings

There’s no question that Massachusetts’s heavily regulated auto insurance system has problems. But our strict regulations are not the cause of its worst feature, the ultra-high premiums drivers pay. The blame for that belongs to Massachusetts’s ultra-high accident rate. Massachusetts has the dubious distinction of having the highest accident rate in the country by far – an astounding 40% higher than the state with the second-highest rate, Rhode Island. Even improving our worst-in-the-nation accident rate to second worst could drop our premiums by nearly 30%, or about $300 on average per car, producing over $1 billion in statewide savings.

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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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