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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Mortgages and Mortgage 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.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

WE COMMEND CFPB FOR ADDING CONSUMER STORIES TO PUBLIC COMPLAINT DATABASE

Yesterday, the CFPB published the first batch (7,700) of consumer narratives or stories to the Public Consumer Complaint Database it began in 2011. We've used the database to publish five reports (so far) analyzing complaint trends in markets ranging from credit cards to student loans but we have also long urged the voluntary addition of stories to the data fields. Now, consumers can learn if what happened to them happened to anyone else. Now, researchers can track which banks are more responsive to particular problems and which ignore their customers. A good resource is now an excellent resource.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

In Wake of OPM’s Poor Response to Data Breach, MASSPIRG Launches Public Education Campaign for the more than 45,000 Federal Employees in Massachusetts

In light of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) poor handling of data breaches reported earlier this year, MASSPIRG staff and volunteers did a lunch hour “literature drop” today, handing out identity theft tips to federal employees at the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

In Wake of OPM’s Poor Response to Data Breach, MASSPIRG Launches Public Education Campaign for the more than 45,000 Federal Employees in Massachusetts

In light of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) poor handling of data breaches reported earlier this year, MASSPIRG staff and volunteers did a lunch hour “literature drop” today, handing out identity theft tips to federal employees at the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

TIPS FOR OPM & OTHER DATA BREACH VICTIMS-WHAT CAN YOU DO TO AVOID IDENTITY THEFT & OTHER HARMS? | Janet Domenitz

The latest breach of up to 18 million or more federal government employee files held by U.S. OPM is an example of everything that's wrong with data security and data breach response mechanisms today. Agencies and companies hold too much information for too long and don't protect it adequately. Then, they wait months before informing victims. Then, they make things worse by offering weak, short-term help such as credit monitoring. Our main message: your best protection against identity theft is the security freeze, not the often-offered, under-achieving credit monitoring.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Study Finds Technology Enabling Americans to Drive Less

Vehicle Sharing Services, Transit Apps and Wi-Fi Contribute to National Driving Decline; Policy Needs to Catch Up

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Sovereign near top of regulator’s list of bank complaints

Two of the region’s biggest banks are near the top of a list of the most complained-about banks in the country.

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3 Boston area banks ranked among worst on complaints

New MASSPIRG Education Fund Report report ranks banks' record in generating and resolving consumer complaints. 

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

Environmentalists, businesses clash over bottle bill

BOSTON (WWLP) - 95 state lawmakers have signed onto an expanded bottle bill that proposes to extend the state’s 5-cent refundable deposit on soda cans to water bottles, sports drinks, and juice containers.

“We know that if we put the nickel deposit on those containers it will be a very effective tool at recycling them,” said MassPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz.

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

WITH BALLOT QUESTION IN THE WORKS, LAWMAKERS HEAR BOTTLE BILL DEBATE

Proposals to expand the bottle deposit were before lawmakers on the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee for a legislative hearing. Frustrated with lawmakers, the bill’s supporters are also angling to put the proposal on the 2014 ballot.

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Can You Hear Us Now?

In the summer of 2004, MASSPIRG surveyed 874 of its members to gauge Bay State consumers’ satisfaction with their cell phone service. This survey reveals that cell phone companies are not providing Massachusetts customers with the level of service quality that subscribers expect.

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Report | Center for Insurance Research | Consumer Protection

The Limitations of a Competitive Auto Insurance Market

Auto insurance markets are atypical. To illistrate this, it is helpful to compare the market for auto insurance with the market for refrigerators. The market for refridgerators is an excellent example of an efficient market. The auto insurance market, in sharp contrast, is a very inefficient one, at least from the consumer’s perspective, and is unlike most markets . .

 

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Trouble in Toyland

Toys are safer than ever before, thanks to decades of work by product safety advocates and parents and the leadership of Congress, state legislatures and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Nevertheless, as parents venture into crowded malls and browse for the perfect toy on the Internet this holiday season, they should remain vigilant about often hidden hazards posed by toys on store shelves.

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Report | Health Care

Paying the Price

Millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans struggle to afford the medicines they need, even forgoing medically necessary drugs when prices are out of reach. When discussing the high cost of prescription drugs, politicians often focus on the financial burden carried by senior citizens.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Tetstimony on Private Passenger Motor Vehicle Insurance Rates | Deirdre Cummings

For the first time in over 30 years, insurance companies will be allowed to use discriminatory factors in selling auto insurance. While banning some of the most obviously unfair factors, the proposed regulations permit insurers to use many other factors that could harm low-income and minority drivers, including factors that act as proxies for the very factors that are banned. In order to protect against discrimination and to ensure that driving record is the primary factor insurers use in setting premiums and in underwriting, it is necessary to list expressly all the rating and underwriting factors that may be used by insurers.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Testimony in Opposition to the "assigned risk plan" and in favor of permanently rescinding the adopted regulation | Deirdre Cummings

In addition, the Governor’s “study group” on auto insurance which issued a report on March 15, 2007, of which I was a participant, recommended that the assigned risk plan not be adopted until further review and evaluation of the new CAR rules aimed at improving the system. Specifically, the commission recommended, “ the Commissioner should delay implementing any assigned risk plan until able to meaningfully evaluate the results of the 2006 redistribution of exclusive (producers) agents and subsequent revisions to the Commonwealth Automobile Reinsurers rules.”

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Testimony in favor of Combined Reporting Legislation | Phineas Baxandall

In-state businesses are playing on an uneven field, competing against multi-state companies that use high-priced, sophisticated accountants and complex transactions with subsidiaries to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes. While currently legal, some multi-state businesses can shift their Massachusetts profits to out-of-state subsidiaries to avoid paying taxes here; while businesses located only in Massachusetts cannot take advantage of these loopholes or other tax shell games.

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Blog Post

Testiomony Before the Coprorate Tax Commsiion in Favor of Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes | Phineas Baxandall

Businesses should thrive based on their efficiency and innovation, not their opportunities for ‘creative’ tax accounting and tax avoidance.

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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.

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