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

CoPIRG’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, CoPIRG’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, CoPIRG 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.

SEE ALL CONSUMER RESOURCES

Issue updates

Statement: Johnson & Johnson recalls sunscreen products after tests detect carcinogens

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. said Wednesday it’s voluntarily recalling all lots of five types of Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen after internal testing showed “low levels of benzene” -- which can cause cancer -- in some samples. J&J also said consumers should stop using the sunscreen.

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Statement: Johnson & Johnson recalls sunscreen products after tests detect carcinogens

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. said Wednesday it’s voluntarily recalling all lots of five types of Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen after internal testing showed “low levels of benzene” -- which can cause cancer -- in some samples. J&J also said consumers should stop using the sunscreen.

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News Release | US PIRG | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection

Consumer tips: What families should know about child tax credit payments that start July 15

Starting Thursday, many families with children under 18 will start getting monthly payments as part of the American Rescue Plan that became law this spring. Eligible families will get payments every month through December by direct deposit or by paper checks or preloaded debit cards that come in the mail. These payments will add up to half the child tax credit you should be entitled to for 2021; you can claim the rest next year when you file your tax return.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection

Waking up to the dangers of inclined infant sleepers | Teresa Murray

If you’re stunned that safety standards for inclined sleepers weren’t required before, get this: The new rules don’t take effect for a year. That’s one of the problems in the world of infant sleep.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Statement: U.S. PIRG helps reintroduce Rep. Maloney’s Overdraft Protection Act

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) hosted a press conference with U.S. PIRG and other consumer advocacy organizations on Wednesday to reintroduce the Overdraft Protection Act.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Consumer Protection

Colorado’s Senators should vote to repeal rule enabling predatory lender evasion of CO payday law

With the clock ticking, Colorado advocates are calling on Senator Bennet and Senator Hickenlooper to back the bill that will overturn a bank regulator rule that would allow predatory lenders to evade Colorado’s 36% payday loan interest rate cap. The bill must pass the Senate by May 21 to block the rule. 

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News Release | CoPIRG | Consumer Protection

Denver financial empowerment office helps thousands of residents reduce debt, save money, avoid debt traps

CoPIRG released new data highlighting the success of the Denver Office of Financial Empowerment and Protection (OFEP), which in 2020 helped thousands of Denver residents reduce debt by $1.4 million, increase savings by $227,000, avoid $826,000 in tax prep fees, and improve credit scores by an average of 43 points. CoPIRG highlighted that the Denver OFEP success underscores the role a statewide Office of Financial Empowerment could play to help leverage Denver’s success across the state.

 

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News Release | CoPIRG | Consumer Protection

Reauthorization of Colorado's utility consumer advocate takes step forward

The Colorado Senate Transportation and Energy Committee approved SB21-103 and moved the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) one step closer to reauthorization. Over the last 30 years, the OCC has saved consumers $1.7 billion - with average annual consumer savings of $113 million over the last five years.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Consumer Protection

CoPIRG calls for basic good governance and transparency for electric coops

CoPIRG called on the House Energy and Environment Committee to approve HB21-1131, titled Cooperative Electric Associations Governance Requirements, sponsored by Representatives Amabile and Catlin. The bill would ensure every electric cooperative and the generation and transmission associations they depend on have basic minimum standards of good governance in place. 

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A week's worth of help and tips during Consumer Protection Week

Being a consumer is a tough job. Really tough. During National Consumer Protection Week, which runs through March 6, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund staff is offering a daily dose of tips and advice to help you navigate life’s biggest consumer challenges.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

This New Year, Celebrate the CFPB | Ed Mierzwinski

This month, we published our 8th report based on analyzing consumer complaints collected in the CFPB's Public Consumer Complaint Database. The release of "Big Banks, Big Overdraft Fees" provides a good year-end opportunity to summarize a few of the reasons to be thankful for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which took over in July 2011 as the first federal regulator with just one job: protecting consumers from unfair financial practices. The idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Addicted to Hand Sanitizer: A Wells Fargo Scandal Update | Ed Mierzwinski

More questions continue to be raised about the Wells Fargo scandal. When did it really start- 2013, 2011 or 2005? What did execs know and when did they know it? How many frontline employees were fired because they complained as whistleblowers? Does setting up a fake account constitute criminal identity theft? Should deposed chairman and CEO John Stumpf go to jail? If the culture was pure, how did a frontline worker get "addicted to (drinking) hand sanitizer? Should he pay back more bonus compensation? Here's a flyaround of some of what's going on. By the way, did you know that even the Better Business Bureau has thrown Wells out?

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: By the numbers | Kathryn Lee

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a breakdown of their successes they’ve had in the short five-year period they’ve been established. We're very proud to have been a part of building it and defending it; we're also very proud of the many achievements the youthful CFPB has made to make the financial marketplace fairer for consumers.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Will Wells Fargo CEO Tell Senate "No Clawbacks" of Exec's Golden Parachute? | Ed Mierzwinski

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf goes before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday (9/20) to explain the recent $185 million in combined civil penalties by the CFPB and other regulators over a sales goals incentive scandal that led to employees opening some 2 million fake, secret accounts without the knowledge of customers. How will he respond to the growing public clamor for a clawback of bonuses paid his top retail executive Carrie Tolstedt, whose retirement with a $125 million golden parachute package had been announced earlier this summer? 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Wall Street Ramps Up Attacks on Wall Street Reform | Ed Mierzwinski

On Friday, the House overwhelmingly approved a Wall Street-driven proposal to weaken oversight of private equity firms, taking a chunk out of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. But wait, there's so much more: On Tuesday the House Financial Services Committee takes up the so-called "Financial Choice Act," which eviscerates most of Dodd-Frank's key reforms, from stripping powers of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to repealing the Volcker Rule, which reins in risky betting practices that use depositors' money. As for the CFPB (which just this week issued its biggest fine to date, $100 million against Wells Fargo Bank for opening hundreds of thousands of fake and secret consumer accounts to meet sales goals), the proposal would defund and defang it and delay or stop its efforts to rein in unfair practices of payday lenders, debt collectors and banks. Many of the Financial Choice Act's provisions also pose threats as budget bill "riders."

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News Release | CoPIRG

The Colorado General Assembly sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would ramp up consumer protections around predatory towing. In a recent report, Getting Off the Hook of a Predatory Tow, CoPIRG compared state laws around towing and identified a number of abusive practices following a tow that vehicle owners can experience, from charging exorbitant fees to refusing the owner access to the personal items in their vehicle. Based on the new protections, Colorado would be a national leader. 

News Release | CoPIRG

Colorado wheelchair users have won a landmark victory that eventually could affect every U.S. consumer’s right to repair. The General Assembly approved HB22-1031, requiring manufacturers of powered wheelchairs to make available parts, tools, repair manuals, and digital access to owners and independent repairers at fair and reasonable prices. The Colorado bill also marks the first time an industry will be required to provide repair access since Massachusetts voters approved an automotive Right to Repair law at the ballot in 2013. 

News Release | CoPIRG

Consumer and disability advocates are celebrating the passage of HB22-1031, the Right to Repair for Wheelchairs bill, by the full Senate. This first-in-the-nation bill is one step away from the Governor’s desk. The bill would require manufacturers of powered wheelchairs to make available parts, tools, repair manuals, and digital access to owners and independent repairers at fair and reasonable prices to fix their wheelchairs. 

News Release | CoPIRG

Consumer and disability advocates applauded the Colorado Senate Business, Labor and Technology committee for passing HB22-1031, the Right to Repair for Wheelchairs bill, which would require manufacturers of powered wheelchairs to make available parts, tools, repair manuals, and documentation to owners and independent repairers at fair and reasonable prices to fix their wheelchairs. It also requires manufacturers provide the digital access needed to complete repairs. 

Consumer Protection

GM heeds consumer groups' advocacy, commits to not sell used cars with safety issues

We commend General Motors for its new commitment not to sell used vehicles with unrepaired safety recall defects on its soon-to-be-launched used car platform, CarBravo.

 

Consumer Protection

Farmers want to fix their stuff. Tractor dealer consolidation is getting in the way.

John Deere, which controls 53% of the country’s large tractor market, has consolidated a huge percentage of its dealership locations into large chains — leading to costly repair bills for farmers and delays that can put their crops at risk.

 

Consumer Protection

Not First Class

Our report highlights how flier complaints have soared as airlines cancel flights, deny refunds, and ruin plans. Find out which airlines have the most complaints and what you can do.

 

Consumer Protection

Report: Colorado consumers faced major challenges with credit bureaus, debt collectors in 2020

If you were treated unfairly by a financial company such as a credit bureau in 2020, you're not alone. "Consumers in Peril," a CoPIRG Foundation report on the top marketplace threats that Americans faced in 2020, found that problems with banks, credit bureaus and debt collectors were among the top consumer complaints.

 
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