Consumer Protection

Competition laws also important to protect markets and consumers

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Consumer Program Director

When companies use illegal practices to keep prices high or limit entry of innovative or lower-cost competitors, everyone loses. Learn more about our recent efforts under the antitrust and competition laws to make markets for prescription drugs and payments cards work fairly.

Consumer Brief Supporting NY Attorney General In Alzheimer's Drug Case

In December, a U.S. judge upheld the New York Attorney General's request for an injunction requiring the powerful Big Pharma company Actavis to continue marketing a lower-cost version of its Alzheimer's drug Namenda, instead of using a "product-hopping" scheme to move consumers to a newer but virtually identical version that would enjoy monopoly protection until 2029, making it unlikely that lower-cost generic alternatives could successfully enter the market. We joined other leading groups, including Consumers Union and Public Citizen, in a friend-of-the-court brief to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals supporting General Eric Schneiderman's defense against Actavis in its appeal. Our brief is attached.

Coalition Launched To Protect Retirement Savings from Wall Street Loopholes

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Consumer Program Director

We've joined AARP, the Consumer Federation of America, AFL-CIO, Americans for Financial Reform and other leading groups to support an imminent Department of Labor rule to require retirement advisors to put consumers first. Wall Street brokerages and insurance companies have already launched a fierce lobbying attack, since they've been using loopholes to put themselves first to the tune of an estimated $17 billion/year by pocketing what should be your retirement income.

UK's "CFPB" Nails Big Brit Banks for Unfair Credit Card Add-on Fees

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Consumer Program Director

Emulating the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, London's Financial Conduct Authority has ordered 11 big UK banks, including a Capital One subsidiary, to return "hundreds of millions of pounds" to consumers over "mis-selling" of unnecessary "card security" insurance that duplicates protection by law. In the psat two years, the CFPB has ordered $1.5 billion in refunds to U.S. consumers duped by similar add-on subscription products. The products were sold by a Stamford, CT based "loyalty club" marketer, Affinion, that has been the subject of enforcement actions by a number of U.S. state attorneys general.

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

House Passes Two Bills Favored By Wall Street, Harmful to the Public

Statement of Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski: "This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two awful bills on behalf of Wall Street and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. One bill weakens important 2010 financial system reforms designed to prevent another financial system collapse like the one in 2008 that occurred due to Wall Street malfeasance. The second imposes massive roadblocks in front of any agency, from EPA and FDA to the financial regulators, seeking to protect the public's health, safety or wallets. We will seek to block these bills in the Senate and at the White House."

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

USPIRG LAUDS CFPB SAFE STUDENT BANKING INITIATIVE

WASHINGTON, DC --   Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched an initiative to protect students from the high banking fees and aggressive marketing surrounding campus bank accounts.

President Issues Privacy Platform

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Consumer Program Director

Today the President announced support for a variety of privacy protections, most of which are laudable. However, it remains our view that Congressional consideration of a "uniform national breach notification standard" is unnecessary and, worse, will give powerful special interests an opportunity to use the proposal as a Trojan Horse to enact sweeping preemptive limits on state privacy protections.

Letter opposing Regulatory Accountability Act

The Regulatory Accountability Act is part of a package of "analysis-paralysis" proposals designed to make it impossible for agencies to enact health, safety or financial safeguards.

Wall Street Gets Rare House Floor Defeat

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Consumer Program Director

UPDATED 12 Jan 2015 (adding opposition to Regulatory Accountability Act): House leaders miscalculated today when they attempted to pass a sweeping rollback of Wall Street reforms under a suspension of the rules procedure usually limited to bills naming Post Offices and praising Cub Scouts and Little League teams. Faced with strong opposition led by Rep. Keith Ellison (MN), the proposal failed to get the necessary 2/3rds vote in favor to pass, but unfortunately it is expected to be back.

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland 2014

Among the toys surveyed this year, we found numerous choking hazards and five toys with concentrations of toxics exceeding federal standards. In addition to reporting on potentially hazardous products found in stores in 2014, this installment of the report describes the potential hazards in toys and children’s products.

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