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  • Protecting Consumers | PennPIRG
    a committee vote predatory lenders have succeeded in convincing House Armed Services Committee leaders to insert language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would delay the DoD regulations up to a year while needless redundant studies are prepared Only in Washington Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Consumer Protection PIRG Commends Release of Labor Dept s Proposed Rule To End Conflicted Retirement Advice PIRG today commended the public release of the Department of Labor s proposed rule that would strengthen the ability for Americans to save for retirement by addressing conflicts of interest that arise when brokers and financial advisers give retirement advice Wall Street will fight the rule hard because it requires them to put consumers first Keep Reading Blog Post Consumer Protection CFPB Begins Payday Regulation Push In Richmond Ed Mierzwinski We joined the CFPB in Richmond Thursday for a field hearing on a proposed rule to regulate payday lending and similar high cost short term loans The CFPB s draft rule is comprehensive covering a variety of loans but it contains potential loopholes that we and other advocates will urge the bureau to close before it finalizes this important effort Here s a short blog with some photos from Richmond Keep Reading Pages first previous 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next last Media Hit Consumer Protection PA Matters Despite Improvements still Trouble in Toyland The annual Trouble in Toyland report from the U S Public Interest Research Group shows there are still toxic toys on the shelves despite improvements Keep Reading Media Hit Consumer Protection FOX 43 Annual Survey Finds Toxic Toys on Store Shelves Just days before the official start of the holiday shopping season the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group released its 26th annual report on this year s most dangerous toys Keep Reading News Release PennPIRG Consumer Protection Trouble in Toyland Holiday shopping season is upon us once again As a parent relative or friend shopping for toys for the children in your life can be a challenge We don t always know if the gifts will be a hit but the one thing we count on is that the toys we purchase are safe Thanks to the hard work of agencies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC and consumer advocates like U S PIRG that s largely true But as our toy shopping researchers have found that s not always the case Keep Reading Media Hit Consumer Protection Inquirer Bank elsewhere to avoid fees With its latest fee Bank of America has made the decision to balance its books on the backs of its customers instead of changing its business model to be more consumer friendly Bank of America to charge 5 debit card fee Friday Chase and Wells Fargo are also testing a 3 debit card fee in certain markets Keep Reading News Release Budget Consumer Protection Financial Reform New Consumer Agency Takes Over Thursday as Nation s Consumer Bank Cop Philadelphia PA Leading consumer

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/issues/pap/protecting-consumers?page=6 (2016-04-27)
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  • Protecting Consumers | PennPIRG
    S PIRG Consumer Protection FCC NET NEUTRALITY ORDER PROTECTS THE OPEN INTERNET Today the FCC took not one but two critical actions to make sure that the Internet works for everybody First it issued a Net Neutrality order guaranteeing a free and open Internet This Internet freedom order will prevent the phone and cable companies from granting fast lanes or other preferences to already powerful firms The FCC also acted to override state laws that prevented local governments from building out broadband networks to compete with the phone and cable companies Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Consumer Protection USPIRG Commends Department of Labor s Rule On Conflicted Retirement Advice Today we joined President Obama Senator Elizabeth Warren CFPB Director Rich Cordray Labor Secretary Tom Perez and others at AARP as the President announced his strong support for a proposed Labor Department rule to close loopholes and to require Wall Street and other financial advisors to put consumers first when they give retirement advice Wall Street has already launched a misleading attack Read more to see our statement supporting the proposal which will put billions of dollars back into retirement accounts Keep Reading Blog Post Consumer Protection Coalition Launched To Protect Retirement Savings from Wall Street Loopholes Ed Mierzwinski 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 Keep Reading Pages first previous 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next last News Release Budget Consumer Protection Financial Reform New Survey Shows Banks Still Hiding Fees from Consumers PHILADELPHIA April 12 A survey released today by the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group of more than 350 bank branches 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 Keep Reading Media Hit Consumer Protection Big dangers in little hands KINGSTON Dangerous toys can still be found on America s store shelves despite recent legislation and increased safeguards Keep Reading News Release PennPIRG Consumer Protection Parents Beware Many Toys Still Toxic Hazardous PHILADELPHIA Nov 24 Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America s store shelves Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group announced on Tuesday in its 24th annual Trouble in Toyland report Keep Reading News Release PennPIRG and Media and Democracy Coalition Consumer Protection Public Interest Groups Urge Lawmakers to Support Broadband Plan that Serves the Public Good For this year s OneWebDay PennPIRG and the Media and Democracy Coalition will release A Public Interest Internet Agenda and join Philadelphia residents for a policy panel discussion on the future of local broadband

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/issues/pap/protecting-consumers?page=7 (2016-04-27)
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  • Protecting Consumers | PennPIRG
    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 Keep Reading Blog Post Consumer Protection The CFPB at Three A Child Prodigy Ed Mierzwinski The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB turned just three years old Monday July 21st but when you look at its massive and compelling body of work you must wonder Are watchdog years like plain old dog years Is the CFPB now a full sized 21 year old adult The answer is no not yet The CFPB is still growing and developing and adding programs and projects The CFPB is however at three years old certainly a child prodigy Despite overwhelming public support however powerful special interests continue to attack it Yet the idea of the CFPB needs no defense only more defenders Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection The Unfriendly Skies It seems as if every consumer has an airline problem story how they were trapped on the tarmac tricked by fees missed their connection or lost their bag What many consumers don t know is that they have a number of new rights as well as a right to complain both to the airline and to the government This report tracks five years of consumer complaints and highlights which airlines received the most complaints and what kinds of complaints were most common Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Debt Collectors Debt Complaints This is the fifth in a series of reports that review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state by state level In this report we explore consumer complaints about debt collection with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with debt

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/issues/pap/protecting-consumers?page=8 (2016-04-27)
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  • Protecting Consumers | PennPIRG
    PennPIRG and Media and Democracy Coalition Consumer Protection Public Interest Groups Urge Lawmakers to Support Broadband Plan that Serves the Public Good For this year s OneWebDay PennPIRG and the Media and Democracy Coalition will release A Public Interest Internet Agenda and join Philadelphia residents for a policy panel discussion on the future of local broadband access The event is being held at 7pm in the University of the Arts as part of Philadelphia s inaugural OneWebDay celebration Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund and Media and Democracy Coalition Consumer Protection A Public Interest Internet Agenda Connecting our entire nation via high speed broadband will bring remarkable economic social cultural personal and other benefits Robust economic development job creation improved health care at lower costs enhanced educational opportunities increased homeland security and public safety reduced energy consumption and pollution a reinvigorated democracy and more open government these are just a few of the benefits that will flow from our nation linking its entire population to the Internet at broadband speed Keep Reading News Release PennPIRG Consumer Protection PIRG s Trouble In Toyland Washington DC Hazardous toys are still sold in stores across the country despite a new law overhauling the nation s product safety watchdog agency according to the 23rd annual toy safety survey released today The group also warned that the Consumer Product Safety Commission may delay one of the new law s toxic toy protections indefinitely Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection PIRG s Trouble In Toyland The recall of 45 million toys and other children s products in 2007 and continued recalls in 2008 reminded Americans that no government agency tests toys before they are put on the shelves Specifically the wave of recalls focused attention on the fact that the agency charged with protecting

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/issues/pap/protecting-consumers?page=17 (2016-04-27)
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  • Protecting Consumers Updates | PennPIRG
    state by state level In this report we explore consumer complaint trends in the private student loan sector with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with their student loans Read more about Private Loans Public Complaints News Release PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection New Report Identifies Most Troublesome Private Lenders to Students Read more about New Report Identifies Most Troublesome Private Lenders to Students Media Hit Consumer Protection Financial Reform Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps with bank complaints Since it started accepting complaints about banks 18 months ago the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has helped thousands of irate customers settle disputes over their accounts with roughly 1 out of 4 complaints resulting in monetary relief a just released analysis by a consumer group shows Read more about Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps with bank complaints Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Big Banks Big Complaints The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB was established in 2010 in the wake of the worst financial crisis in decades Its mission is to identify dangerous and unfair financial practices to educate consumers about these practices and to regulate the financial institutions that perpetuate them To help accomplish these goals the CFPB has created and made available to the public the Consumer Complaint Database The database tracks complaints made by consumers to the CFPB and the responses of financial institutions to those complaints The Consumer Complaint Database enables the CFPB to identify financial practices that threaten to harm consumers and enables the public to evaluate both the performance of the financial industry and of the CFPB The CFPB s searchable complaint database is the newest of a set of federal government consumer complaint databases that help consumers make better economic and safety choices by reviewing other s experiences and searching

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/node/1017/content (2016-04-27)
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  • Beat High Bank Fees | PennPIRG
    card at the bank s ATM then use the cash at the store AVOID COSTLY DEBIT OVERDRAFTS Rules passed in 2010 prohibit banks from charging you fees for over drawing your account with your ATM debit card at a merchant or an ATM unless you say yes opt in to so called overdraft protection Don t opt in If you already did opt back out Your card will be declined at point of sale with no overdraft fee Carry an emergency 10 in your wallet if this concerns you it beats paying 35 for a 4 latte Ask about lower cost transfers to cover negative balances Note Even if you ve said no to overdraft protection checks and automated bill payments can still bounce GET DIRECT DEPOSIT TO GET FREE CHECKING Many banks still offer free checking especially if you have a regular automatic payroll or other direct deposit Note An advertised Free Checking Account only means no fees can be imposed for monthly maintenance on the account whether based on your monthly balance or not Fees can still be imposed for many services including debit cards non bank ATM use for receiving statements and or check images in the mail and for overdrafts among other allowable fees on a free account MAKE NOISE Sometimes you can get a better deal at a bank just by asking for it BANK ELECTRONICALLY Some banks offer free accounts or charge less if you have your statements sent to you electronically if you don t have your check images returned to you at all or agree not to use human teller services If you are comfortable banking online you can save Read disclosures carefully check your online statements regularly and archive copies of your online statements even if the bank says it does CHECK OUT INTERNET BANKS Banks without branches may have lower fees if you are comfortable banking on the Internet and not ever dealing face to face with a person Note Check FDIC gov to confirm you found an insured bank LOOK FOR OTHER FREE CHECKING OPTIONS Get free checking with several account relationships or at some banks even if you simply make 5 or more monthly transfers including debits in or out of the account Move money from low interest savings Ask whether you can count all your balances toward your checking minimum If not savings account and interest bearing checking interest rates are so low that putting more money in a regular no interest checking account to avoid fees may save more in fees than you earned in interest Many banks and credit unions offer free or lower cost checking for seniors or students USE FREE TEXT MESSAGE WARNINGS Ask your bank or credit union if it offers free phone text messages or emails when your balance drops to a certain trigger amount Then transfer money before you risk overdrafts COMPARISON SHOP Look at bankrate com moneyrates com findabetterbank com bankfox com mybanktracker com and similar sites Call around

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/resources/xxp/beat-high-bank-fees (2016-04-27)
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  • Protect Yourself Against New Account ID Theft | PennPIRG
    states offer them for free to consumer 65 years There are six states where freezes are free to all consumers whether they are identity theft victims or not Colorado Indiana New Jersey New York North Carolina and South Carolina Security freezes can also be placed by parents and legal guardians of minors and medically incapacitated consumers Consumers who chose a security freeze should account for the time it can take to thaw their reports if they want to apply for credit in the future In most cases if a request for a thaw is made online or over the phone a report can be unfrozen within 15 minutes However it can take longer if a consumer lost his or her PIN number that was assigned when the report was frozen It can also take up to three days of receipt of a thaw request if it is made via postal mail How to Freeze and Unfreeze Your Credit Report It is recommended you freeze your credit report with at least the three main credit bureaus Experian Equifax and TransUnion Placing a freeze with one bureau does not automatically freeze your account with the other bureaus You have to place a freeze with each bureau where you want one Some creditors use one some use another so your best coverage is to freeze all three You will receive a PIN number for your credit freeze with each bureau You will use this PIN number when you want to unfreeze your credit report any time you want to apply for new credit If you want to temporarily lift a freeze because you are applying for credit or a job try to find out which credit bureau the business uses to check credit reports You can save some money and time by only lifting your freeze for that credit bureau You can temporarily lift a freeze for a particular creditor or for a specific period of time from one day to one year Make sure to account for the time it can take to thaw your report In most cases if you request a thaw online or over the phone your report can be unfrozen within 15 minutes However it can take longer if you don t have your PIN number that was assigned to you when you froze your report so make sure to keep your PIN number in a safe memorable place where you can quickly retrieve it when needed It can also take up to three days of receipt of your request if you make it via postal mail Placing and Lifting a Security Freeze with Each of the Credit Bureaus You can place a freeze online over the phone or in writing Equifax Online https www freeze equifax com Phone 1 800 685 1111 NY residents please call 1 800 349 9960 Mail Equifax Security Freeze P O Box 105788 Atlanta Georgia 30348 Experian Online https www experian com freeze center html Phone 1 888 397 3742 Mail Experian

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/resources/usp/protect-yourself-against-new-account-id-theft (2016-04-27)
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  • Label GMO Foods | PennPIRG
    Consumer Protection Over 7 000 Comments Submitted to Department of Labor Every year over 17 billion is lost from retirement savings to fees and charges according to the Council of Economic Advisors Today we submitted over 7 000 PIRG member comments urging the U S Department of Labor to finalize a strong rule requiring retirement advisors to put the interests of their customers first We also submitted a detailed expert comment of our own in the important conflicted advice rulemaking Keep Reading News Release US PIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Top 10 List How the CFPB Works for Consumers The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB turns 4 on July 21st To celebrate and increase public awareness of the agency U S PIRG Education Fund released a new webpage Meet the CFPB Just Ten of the Ways It Works for You Keep Reading News Release US PIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection New Report Mortgage Problems Rank 1 at CFPB for Consumer Complaints Mortgage problems were the top source of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB according to a report released today by the U S PIRG Education Fund The report also found that Bank of America was the most complained about company in 45 states and Washington D C for mortgage problems It s the sixth in a series of our reports analyzing nearly 500 000 complaints posted to the CFPB s Public Consumer Complaint Database Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 next last Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Trouble in Toyland 2013 The 2013 Trouble in Toyland report is the 28th annual U S Public Interest Research Group PIRG survey of toy safety In this report U S PIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Big Credit Bureas Big Complaints This report is the third of several that review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state by state level In this report we explore consumer complaints about credit bureaus with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with credit reporting Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Private Loans Public Complaints This report is the second of several that will review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state by state level In this report we explore consumer complaint trends in the private student loan sector with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with their student loans Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Big Banks Big Complaints The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB was established in 2010 in the wake of the worst financial crisis in decades Its mission is to identify dangerous and unfair financial practices to educate consumers about these practices and to regulate the financial institutions that perpetuate them Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/issues/pap/label-gmo-foods?page=1 (2016-04-27)
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