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  • New Post-Mortgage-Crisis Rules Will Protect Homebuyers and Homeowners | INPIRG
    the new rules protecting homebuyers and homeowners the CFPB has released a variety of self help tools so consumers can protect themselves added Sprague With these new rules and tools consumers will have a better chance to protect themselves against unfair practices in the mortgage marketplace whether they are buying a new home or already living in it The CFPB s new tools will help consumers File a mortgage complaint Find a housing counselor in their area Get answers to mortgage related questions Read tips for homebuyers and homeowners Download a guide for housing counselors The CFPB was established as a centerpiece of the 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act It is the first federal financial regulator with just one job protecting consumers It has jurisdiction over both banks and non banks so it protects consumers no matter where they shop Among numerous other achievements it has already ordered big credit card companies to refund nearly 800 million to consumers for unfair practices Over five years ago an unregulated mortgage marketplace led to tragic outcomes for millions of homeowners and the collapse of our economy Sprague concluded We agree with the CFPB that homebuyers and homeowners need a marketplace with No debt traps no surprises and no run arounds These rules and tools will help make that a reality for consumers More information about the rules can be found at http files consumerfinance gov f 201312 cfpb mortgagerules pdf More information about the new tools can be found at http www consumerfinance gov mortgage INPIRG is a non profit non partisan student advocacy organization that takes on powerful interests on behalf of the public As a founding member of Americans for Financial Reform INPIRG helped lead the fight to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau On the web

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/news/in/new-post-mortgage-crisis-rules-will-protect-homebuyers-and-homeowners (2016-04-29)
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  • Protect yourself against data theft | INPIRG
    Instead call the number on the back of your card and ask for the fraud department Don t pay for expensive credit monitoring services You have the right under federal law to look at each of your three credit reports once a year for free at annualcreditreport com You can stagger these requests one every four months to do your own credit monitoring at no cost As long as you can avoid running up credit card debt always use credit cards in stores or online Your rights are stronger by law with credit cards than debit cards and you don t run the risk of missing funds from your checking account for weeks while the bank conducts a fraud investigation Consumers can find more detailed tips at http uspirgedfund org issues usf protecting yourself identity theft Alec Sprague Midwest Federal Advocate INPIRG About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Student Consumer Action Network Sustainable U Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in Action Like Us Follow Us RSS Contact Media Hits by Campaign Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable Affordable Higher Education Sustainable U Make Textbooks Affordable Make Textbooks Affordable 21st Century Transportation Student Consumer Action Network Newsroom Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Students in Action Student leaders educate the campus about income inequality during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week We collect petition signatures lots of them Hunger and Homelessness intern

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/media/in/protect-yourself-against-data-theft (2016-04-29)
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  • Indiana residents complain most frequently about bigger banks | INPIRG
    complaints database consumers who get ripped off or misled by their banks can make their voices heard and get satisfaction said Alec Sprague a federal advocate for INPIRG Other consumers can view the public database and make smarter more informed financial choices By providing a roadmap for navigating the tricks and traps of the financial marketplace this database is another way the bureau gets real results for consumers The federal agency was founded in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis and started collecting data on banking last spring The bureau tracks complaints to keep tabs on business practices that could pose risk to consumers to enforce federal consumer financial laws and come up with better rules and regulations INPIRG crunched the consumer complaint data and found that about 28 percent of complaints got the customer some monetary relief on average about 110 An additional 5 percent of complaints resulted in relief that did not involve money such as when banks agreed to adjust account terms or to contact a credit bureau to request a change in a credit report About 95 percent of complaints were closed but the customers still disputed about one in every five resolutions Customers were least likely to dispute a bank s response if they got some monetary relief For information call 855 411 2372 or visit www consumerfinance gov complaint About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Student Consumer Action Network Sustainable U Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/media/in/indiana-residents-complain-most-frequently-about-bigger-banks (2016-04-29)
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  • Campaign addresses health insurance | INPIRG
    SPEA associate professor Seth Freedman said In order to be eligible for a government subsidy an individual must be making an annual income between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty line or 11 500 to 40 000 per year Reaching that 11 500 minimum is imperative SPEA professor Kosali Simon said In order to participate in the federal marketplace program you must reach that number Simon said Otherwise you will be put on the waiting list for the state Healthy Indiana program The state government declined federal funding for that program and it cannot support its current beneficiaries and the over 55 000 individuals on the waiting list she said The healthcare gov website is currently active despite the current government shutdown Insurance plans will not go into effect until January 2014 Open enrollment for various plans lasts until March 31 2014 If students do not apply for a desired plan before March 31 they must wait until the next open enrollment date October 2014 Simon said When the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in January 2014 individuals who do not meet the minimum level of required insurance coverage could be subject to fines of up to 1 percent of their annual income It is important to check now and see if you meet those minimum guidelines Simon said Students could be unaware of these laws and they might soon be facing fines they weren t even informed of INPIRG will have events concerts and handing out flyers around campus to attempt to educate students of these new options and deadlines Thompson said he hopes the INPIRG awareness campaign will better prepare students for future health care issues People do not want to be placed in a troublesome situation like I was Thompson said There is help out

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/media/in/campaign-addresses-health-insurance-0 (2016-04-29)
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  • Transportation in Transition | INPIRG
    drive into the urbanized area Table ES 2 10 Urbanized Areas with Largest Declines in VMT per Capita The use of non driving modes of transportation has increased in a majority of the nation s most populous urbanized areas The proportion of residents bicycling to work increased in 85 out of 100 of America s largest urbanized areas between 2000 and 2007 2011 The number of passenger miles traveled PMT per capita on transit increased in 60 out of 98 of America s large urbanized areas whose trends could be analyzed between 2005 and 2010 Variations in the economy do not appear to be responsible for variations in the trends in driving among urbanized areas In fact the economies of urbanized areas with large declines in driving have been less affected by the recession according to unemployment and poverty indicators Between 2006 and 2011 the average increase in the unemployment rate in the 15 urbanized areas with the highest per capita declines in VMT was 3 9 percent while the average increase in all other urbanized areas was 4 6 percent Between 2006 and 2011 the average increase in the poverty rate of the 15 urbanized areas with the highest per capita declines in VMT was 2 7 percent while the average increase in all other urbanized areas was 3 6 percent The time has come for cities and states to shift their transportation priorities away from investments in expensive unnecessary new highways and toward the maintenance and repair of our existing infrastructure and the development of new transportation choices for Americans To that end public officials should Revisit transportation plans Many existing transportation plans continue to reflect outdated assumptions that the number of miles driven will continue to rise steadily over time Officials at all levels should revisit transportation plans to ensure that they reflect recent declines in driving and new understandings of the future demand for travel Reallocate resources With driving stagnating in many areas and demand for transit bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure increasing officials should reallocate resources away from wasteful highway expansion projects and toward system repair and programs that expand the range of transportation options available to Americans Remove barriers to non driving transportation options In many areas planning and zoning laws and transportation funding rules limit public officials ability to expand access to transportation choices Officials at all levels should remove these barriers and ensure access to funding for non driving forms of transportation Use innovative travel tools and services New technologies and techniques provide transportation officials with new tools to address transportation challenges Transportation agencies should encourage the use of carsharing bikesharing and ridesharing and provide real time travel information for public transit via smartphone Get better data Transportation agencies should compile and make available to the public more comprehensive comparable and timely data to allow for better informed analysis of the causes and magnitude of changes in driving trends Officials at all levels should eliminate inconsistencies in the reporting of transportation data increase

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/reports/in/transportation-transition (2016-04-29)
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  • Trouble in Toyland 2013 | INPIRG
    foods pose a special hazard because they look to small children like something that should be eaten Magnets Magnet toys made with neodymium iron boron magnets such as the Buckyball magnets that are the subject of a CPSC court action are still available and continue to cause accidents CPSC staff have estimated that between 2009 and 2011 there were 1 700 emergency room cases nationwide involving the ingestion of high powered magnets More than 70 of these cases involved children between the ages of 4 and 12 We also found ellipsoid toy magnets that nearly fit in the small parts cylinder and are classified as a novelty finger fidget toy These magnets are smooth and shiny and sold in pairs striking them together causes them to vibrate and produce a singing sound making them appealing to children CPSC has reported gastroenterological injuries associated with ellipsoid magnets If the magnet had fit in the small parts test cylinder it would be banned for sale to children under 14 These instead were labeled 8 and up Noisy Toys Research has shown that a third of Americans with hearing loss can attribute it in part to noise The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that one in five U S children will have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach age 12 This may be in part due to many children using toys and other children s products such as music players that emit loud sounds The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders advises that prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels will cause gradual hearing loss in any age range Toys that are intended to be held close to the ear are not to exceed 65 decibels Toys that held within close range in a lap or on a table are not to exceed 85 decibels We found toys on store shelves that exceeded the limit of 65 decibels for toys held close to the ear The Chat Count Smart Phone for example produces sound measuring higher than 85 decibels when measured at 2 5 centimeters and children may hold such toys pressed up against the ear Recommendations for Policymakers Policymakers must ensure that the Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC is given the resources it needs to effectively protect consumers Policymakers must also continue vigorous oversight of implementation and enforcement of the law Policymakers should require manufacturers to provide all hazard and health impact information to the state and federal government so agencies can begin to assess the thousands of chemicals currently on the market for which little or inadequate data are available There is overwhelming evidence showing that the Toxic Substances Control Act is failing our most vulnerable consumers pregnant women babies and children Policymakers should take steps to ensure that the American people are better protected from toxics in products Policymakers should reject well funded special interest efforts to weaken the ability of regulatory agencies to conduct rulemakings or enforce rules designed to

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/reports/in/trouble-toyland-2013 (2016-04-29)
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  • Report: In Indiana, Experian Gets Big Complaints | INPIRG
    found that millions of Americans have serious errors on their credit reports These errors can severely inhibit a consumer s ability to get an affordable loan rent an apartment or even find a job Some key findings Indiana ranks 42 in complaints per 100 000 residents Residents of the District of Columbia were most likely to complain The most complained about credit reporting agency in Indiana is Experian By far the most common problem was incorrect information on a credit report which accounted for 65 percent of complaints The CFPB has helped enable nearly 3 000 consumers or 30 percent of total complainants to receive relief such as fixing incorrect information on a credit report or refunding service charges or fees related to credit reporting The big three nationwide credit reporting agencies NCRAs Equifax TransUnion and Experian varied widely in how they responded to complaints Equifax responded to 63 percent of its complaints with non monetary relief while Experian did so in only 5 percent of cases and TransUnion in 22 percent Equifax provided monetary or non monetary relief nearly three times as often as TransUnion and more than 10 times as often as Experian Consumers disputed the companies responses to about 18 percent of all complaints The big three NCRAs collect centralize and aggregate consumers financial information They source this information from public record databases of bankruptcies as well as from creditors and other furnishers who forward consumer bill payment history and other credit information to them voluntarily These big three NCRAs accounted for 96 percent of the over 10 000 complaints on credit reporting In general monetary relief is most likely due to complaints about add on credit monitoring subscription products and non monetary relief most likely involves corrections to credit reports The report also highlights several changes the CFPB should make in order to improve the accessibility and usefulness of its database such as adding details about the consumer s specific problem and how it was resolved INPIRG also urged the CFPB to order the credit bureaus to comply with the law s accuracy and dispute reinvestigation standards INPIRG encouraged consumers to check their credit reports regularly and follow up quickly if there are errors Since consumers can t shop around for their credit report the CFPB s public Consumer Complaints Database is an invaluable tool to hold credit reporting agencies accountable Sprague added Download the report Big Credit Bureaus Big Mistakes The CFPB s Consumer Complaint Database Gets Real Results for Victims of Credit Reporting Errors This is the third in a series of five reports by INPIRG that analyze the complaints in the CFPB s public Consumer Complaints Database Upcoming reports will analyze complaints relating to credit cards and debt collection Visit the CFPB s public Consumer Complaints Database www consumerfinance gov complaintdatabase INPIRG is a statewide student organization that works to protect consumers and promote good government We investigate problems craft solutions educate the public and offer meaningful opportunities for civic participation www inpirg

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/news/in/report-indiana-experian-gets-big-complaints (2016-04-29)
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  • Big Credit Bureaus, Big Mistakes | INPIRG
    Incorrect Information on Their Credit Report Nearly 3 000 consumers received monetary or non monetary relief from credit bureaus through the CFPB complaints process Non monetary relief includes actions such as a credit bureau fixing incorrect information ensuring that consumers receive the annual credit report to which they are entitled or correcting incorrect account status information About 30 percent of all complaints resulted in monetary or non monetary relief while 63 percent of all consumer complaints regarding credit reporting were closed with an explanation to the consumer Figure ES 3 Nearly 3 000 Consumers Received Relief after Complaining to the CFPB The three NCRAs reported very different responses to consumer complaints ii Equifax responded to 63 percent of its complaints with non monetary relief while Experian did so in only 5 percent of cases and TransUnion in 22 percent Equifax provided monetary or non monetary relief nearly three times as often as TransUnion and more than 10 times as often as Experian Equifax alone accounted for 72 percent of all complaints closed with non monetary relief Consumers disputed the companies responses to about 18 percent of all complaints The NCRAs differed slightly in the percentage of complaints disputed by consumers Equifax had consumers dispute its responses 21 percent of the time while consumers disputed 15 percent of Experian s responses and 18 percent of TransUnion s Consumers across the country varied in their tendency to complain to the CFPB about credit reporting Consumers in the District of Columbia whose residents were most likely to complain complained more than 20 times more frequently per capita than did residents of Nebraska whose citizens were least likely to complain After D C the states in which consumers were most likely to complain were Florida Maryland Nevada Virginia Alaska California New Mexico and Georgia Figure ES 4 Credit Reporting Complaints per 100 000 Residents Experian was the most complained about company in 35 states while Equifax received the most complaints of any company in 12 states primarily in the South and in the District of Columbia TransUnion was the most complained about company in Delaware Equifax and TransUnion received the same number of complaints in South Dakota while Experian and TransUnion tied in New Hampshire Differences in regional complaint levels may reflect variances in market share derived from each credit bureau s history Figure ES 5 Most Complained About Credit Bureau by State The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau s Consumer Complaint Database is a key resource for consumer protection To enhance the effectiveness of the CFPB in addressing consumer complaints The CFPB should make the Consumer Complaint Database more user friendly by adding among other data more detailed information about consumer complaints including how they were resolved and the reasons for and outcomes of any disputes The CFPB should also conduct more frequent analyses of trends and give users the tools to undertake their own analyses of the data In addition the CFPB should make it easier for analysts to link the Consumer Complaint

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/reports/in/big-credit-bureaus-big-mistakes (2016-04-29)
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