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  • Toxic Free Communities | PennPIRG
    U S PIRG federal legislative director Jerry Slominski on The Release of the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule for Investment Advice Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Consumer Protection Financial Reform More Than 100 Groups Insist on No Riders in Spending Legislation The day before the White House is expected to release its fiscal year 2017 budget proposal a coalition of more than 100 groups including U S PIRG sent a letter calling on President Barack Obama and all 535 members of Congress to oppose any federal appropriations bill that contains ideological policy riders Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Consumer Protection Letter to Congress 212 Groups Call On You To Oppose HR 4018 and Support a Strong Payday Rule Keep Reading Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 next last Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Trouble in Toyland For 30 years PennPIRG Education Fund has conducted an annual survey of toy safety which has led to over 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years and has helped educate the public and policymakers on the need for continued action to protect the health and wellbeing of children Keep Reading Report US PIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Mortgages and Mortgage Complaints Our sixth report analyzing complaints in the CFPB s Public Consumer Complaint Database evaluates mortgage complaints the number one source of complaints to the CFPB totaling 38 of nearly 500 000 complaints posted since 2011 Keep Reading Report PennPIRG 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 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 collectors and documenting the role of the CFPB in helping consumers successfully resolve their complaints Keep Reading Pages 1 2 3 4 next last Video Blog Consumer Protection John Oliver Takes Aim At Credit Reports In Last Week Tonight Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/issues/pap/toxic-free-communities (2016-04-27)
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  • New Survey Shows Free Checking Widely Available At Small Banks But Banks Still Hiding Fees from Consumers | PennPIRG
    report and some improvement in 2012 The report also compiled bank fees from an examination of the online websites of a total of 330 banks in a total of 24 states and the District of Columbia The survey found that full fee disclosure information was often hard to find online and only available at 62 of big banks surveyed and just 29 of small banks The Truth In Savings Act is a simple law that helps consumers shop around said Lee But compliance with it is poor harming consumers who cannot learn the truth Among the findings of Big Banks Bigger Fees Only 48 of banks visited provided researchers with fee schedules as required by law on their first request After two or more requests eventually a total of 72 complied with the law More than 1 in 10 12 never complied and refused to provide fee information claimed that they didn t have it or told researchers to go online Researchers found a wide variety of free or low cost checking options with 63 of small banks and 60 of credit unions providing totally free checking Although the biggest banks have recently tightened requirements to obtain free checking available at 24 it is still available at more than half of big banks with a regular direct deposit 59 The survey found that that small banks had lower average checking account fees overdraft fees and foreign or off use ATM fees as well as lower balance requirements to avoid checking fees than big banks 9 out of 15 banks visited in Pennsylvania had free checking A shopping guide included in the report compares banking options directs consumers to free and low cost checking choices and provides a list of fees that consumers should look out for when picking a bank The group urged consumers to vote with their feet when they found that bank fees were too high Big banks are doing what they always do raise fees but trying to blame regulation for it said Lee But free checking is still there for consumers who look for it and there are lots of ways to avoid high bank fees PennPIRG also made a series of recommendations to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which took over most consumer rule writing for banks and other financial firms in July 2011 The CFPB also took over supervision of all big banks It called on the CFPB to enforce the Truth In Savings Act and to require banks to post fees on the web in searchable formats and make fee disclosures in a clear tabular format not buried in cumbersome multi page brochures hidden deep inside websites Banks will continue to ignore the Truth In Savings Act and other consumer laws until the CFPB tells them to do a better job concluded Lee Consumers do have more options than they think they do but the CFPB can make it easier to shop around PennPIRG the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group is a non

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/new-survey-shows-free-checking-widely-available-small-banks-banks-still-hiding-fees (2016-04-27)
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  • Small Farmers and Citizens Speak Out Against Agricultural Subsidies in Farm Bill | PennPIRG
    on agricultural subsidies Some of this money subsidizes corn and soy which is then processed into junk food ingredients like high fructose corn syrup accelerating the obesity epidemic in America For too long this expensive legislation has worked against the average American s interests It has encouraged farms to produce products that are dangerous to our health and has concentrated wealth in the hands of a few big corporate farms said Angela Lee PennPIRG advocate In this current economic climate the reauthorization of the farm bill should be a straightforward opportunity to end these subsidies and stop sending taxpayer dollars to profitable agribusinesses that don t need the help said Lee As the Farm Bill heads to the floor or to an extension we urge members of Congress to stand with the public and end these wasteful subsidies PennPIRG the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group is a non profit non partisan public interest advocacy organization that takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members working to win concrete results for our health and well being www pennpirg org Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/small-farmers-and-citizens-speak-out-against-agricultural-subsidies-farm-bill (2016-04-27)
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  • Putting Public Health and Safety First | PennPIRG
    the opposite of what the supporters of H R 4078 suggest A lack of regulation of financial service firms caused the current recession and the recent trading losses by JPMorgan Chase estimated now at over 5 billion underscore the need for more regulations to protect consumers not less While there is no evidence that stopping government from creating new regulatory safeguards or updating existing ones will lead to more jobs there is plenty of reason to think that completely suspending the normal role of government in safeguarding the public will lead to thousands of preventable deaths and hundreds of thousands of illnesses In Pennsylvania alone the impact of delaying just three important upcoming rules by one year would mean As many as 414 000 additional cases of food poisoning from contaminated produce These illnesses could have been prevented had food processors been required to follow new safety procedures scheduled to be introduced by the U S Food and Drug Administration Pennsylvania children will experience as many as 84 539 additional asthma attacks These asthma attacks could have been prevented had polluters been required to comply with stricter standards on poisonous soot emissions scheduled to be introduced by the U S Environmental Protection Agency Soot particles from diesel vehicles and coal fired power plants are so small that our bodies natural defenses coughing and sneezing cannot protect us against them They are inhaled and lodge deep within the lungs Children because their lungs are still developing and they spend more time outdoors are particularly susceptible to becoming sick from these tiny particles 78 030 newly diagnosed cancer patients in Pennsylvania would be at risk of being denied health insurance because insurance companies would be allowed to delay the Affordable Care Act requirement that they cover everyone regardless of any pre existing

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/blog/pap/putting-public-health-and-safety-first-1 (2016-04-27)
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  • House to Vote on Predatory Payday Loans Bill | PennPIRG
    and community organizations across the state have come out against the law For more information about the bill and the organizations working to put a stop to this anti consumer law visit http www stoppaydayloanspa com updates html Related topics Consumer Protection Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Results Take Action Donate Join Us Priority Action We re teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine antibiotics ADD

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/pap/house-vote-predatory-payday-loans-bill (2016-04-27)
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  • Debt Trap: Keep payday and predatory lenders out of Pennsylvania- Editorial | PennPIRG
    24 percent That s still high but it s not the triple digit percentage predatory lenders need to sustain their business model so the industry has stayed away There was even a state Supreme Court case that found it illegal for online lenders to do payday and other predatory loans here Now Rep Chris Ross R Chester is sponsoring House Bill 2191 to allow predatory lending in this state If his bill passes Pennsylvania will have businesses such as Cash N Go and Cash America in most strip malls and street corners in poor areas of town Some say it will bring jobs but at what cost We re likely talking about minimum wage jobs to charge outrageous interest rates on fellow citizens who are desperate for money That s not job creation that s community destruction It s just like the mortgage lending mess If it sounds too good to be true it is Perhaps Pennsylvania lawmakers have forgotten how the payday loan industry used to target the U S military It got so vicious that President George W Bush signed a law in 2006 forbidding loans to servicemen and their families above 36 percent because the 400 percent plus loans were so devastating to our military Is this the industry we want to invite into Pennsylvania to target our low income populations and elderly There s a reason religious texts forbid these types of loans There s a reason Pennsylvania the District of Columbia and 16 other states prohibit these loans There s a reason New Hampshire Ohio and Arizona allowed these loans and then reversed their policies once they realized the harm it was causing There s a reason groups as diverse as the AARP veterans organizations several United Ways and consumer advocates oppose this bill There

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/media/pap/debt-trap-keep-payday-and-predatory-lenders-out-pennsylvania-editorial (2016-04-27)
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  • Report: “Pennsylvania Lives at Risk” | PennPIRG
    patients at risk of being denied health insurance for each year of delay in creating rules prohibiting health insurance companies from refusing to issue insurance to people with pre existing conditions This report demonstrates that the regulatory reform proposals being considered by Congress are a serious threat to Pennsylvanians explained Alana Miller Program Associate at PennPIRG Policymakers should resist efforts by powerful special interests to weaken public health and consumer safety rules The need for consumer safety should not be a political question or a partisan issue The negative consequences of the industry backed regulatory reform proposals should they become law are difficult to overstate said Ben Peck Demos Senior Legislative and Policy Associate These proposals would have a profound impact on our daily lives from our first breath in the morning to the food we eat throughout the day Without government safeguards experience has shown that industry will cut corners in pursuit of short term profit Electric utilities will foul our air and food processors will neglect the safety procedures needed to keep our food free of contamination Proponents of regulatory reform minimize the real world impact of the years added to the basic regulatory process because of the new red tape these proposals would create Our analysis shows how every year of delay costs American lives Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/report-%E2%80%9Cpennsylvania-lives-risk%E2%80%9D (2016-04-27)
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  • DON’T FREEZE OUR PUBLIC HEALTH AND CONSUMER SAFETY PROTECTIONS | PennPIRG
    cars safer Made it safer to breathe saving hundreds of thousands of lives annually Protected children s brain development by phasing out leaded gasoline and lead based paint dramatically reducing blood lead levels The Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012 will threaten all these protections that we as Americans take for granted and under this bizarre legislative rubric many regulatory actions that do not fit the popular conception of public health and consumer safety standards would be halted A great example of this is the Pharmaceutical Approval Standards Every five years Congress reauthorizes the Prescription Drug and User Fee Act PDUFA which establishes the framework for Food and Drug Administration approval of new medicines as well as the Medical Device User Fee Act which functions similarly for medical devices Both acts are set to be reauthorized this year And both acts are designed to keep drugs and medical devices for consumers safe But the absurdity of H R 4078 is that if it is passed Congress will tell agencies don t enforce the laws that we pass Simply put if the House passes this bill it would essentially be sabotaging these two acts The folks who drafted this bill obviously did not think it through and we will see unsafe drugs and medical devices on the market Clearly this bill is a danger to our public health and consumer safety protections and should not be passed Co written with Nasima Hossain Consumer Protection Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/blog/pap/don%E2%80%99t-freeze-our-public-health-and-consumer-safety-protections (2016-04-27)
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