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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB Adds Consumer Stories to Public Complaint Database | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the CFPB took a step to make its excellent public database of consumer complaints even better, by adding complaint narratives (stories), but only with the consumer's consent. It's a step we've long urged. It will enrich our research into the marketplace, help consumers make choices and help good-actor firms avoid bad practices by others.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

As NY Brings Credit Bureaus To Heel, CFPB Arbitration Study Paves Way Toward New Protections | Ed Mierzwinski

Two big consumer stories so far this week offer hope to consumers victimized by credit bureau errors and, more generally, by an inability to take credit bureaus, credit card companies, banks or payday lenders to court when harmed. On Monday, New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman signed a groundbreaking agreement with the Big Three credit bureaus, Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. Then today, the CFPB released a report finding that consumer legal rights are infringed by small-print forced arbitration clauses in credit card and other contracts.  The CFPB will hold a webcast public hearing at 11am Eastern time today (Tuesday) to discuss the report's findings and next steps.

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Media Hit | Financial Reform

Credit Bureaus’ Deal to Improve Accuracy ‘Huge’ for Consumers

(Bloomberg) -- Buying homes, getting jobs and borrowing money will be easier after an agreement by the three biggest U.S. consumer credit reporting services with New York.[...] “It’s a sea change in the way the credit bureaus treat complaints,” said [U.S. PIRG's Ed] Mierzwinski. “The credit bureaus have been run by computers for years now. They’re going to have to hire more people and actually verify that what a creditor said is true.”

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Is Anyone Protecting Your Privacy Or Wallet? Turbotax? Anthem? Apple? The Government? | Ed Mierzwinski

As if recent privacy breaches at the online tax preparer Turbotax and the health insurer Anthem weren't enough, it turns out that low-tech hacks can trick the vaunted Apple Pay system into giving up cash to thieves, too. Meanwhile, while the administration's blueprint for a Privacy Bill of Rights in 2012 was excellent, its new legislative draft from the Department of Commerce could have been written by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There is some good news on privacy, though.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As House Holds Oversight Hearing, 340 Groups Call For Defense of CFPB | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray will present the CFPB's sixth semi-annual report to the House Financial Services Committee, whose majority members have been harsh critics of the successful consumer agency. Americans for Financial Reform, joined by the state PIRGs and a total of 340 national, state and local groups, sent Congress a letter explaining why the idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

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News Release | Florida PIRG | Democracy

Momentum Builds for Public Funding of Congressional Elections

The time is right to implement the public funding of congressional campaigns, thereby making Congress more accountable to voters, according to a report released today by a coalition of public interest groups.

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News Release | Florida PIRG | Consumer Protection

New Report Links Toxic Pollution with Health Hazards as EPA Acts to Restrict Pollution Data

Exposure to dangerous toxic pollution from industrial facilities threatens communities all across Florida, according to a new report. The report, Toxic Pollution and Health, uses information from the federal Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) to analyze toxic pollution linked to serious health problems such as cancer, birth defects or neurological damage. Due to a recent EPA action restricting the public’s right to know, today’s report may provide one of the last complete pictures of toxic pollution in Florida.

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News Release | Florida PIRG | Consumer Protection

House Fails to Strengthen Weak Chemical Security Program

The House today failed to strengthen a weak chemical security program crafted behind closed doors and attached to the Homeland Security funding bill. The vote came on a procedural motion to limit debate and amendments to the funding bill and effectively prevented consideration of an amendment by Representative Sabo (MN) to dramatically improve the underlying chemical security provisions.

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News Release | Florida PIRG | Consumer Protection

Taxpayers Pay To Clean Up After Polluters At Nation's Toxic Waste Sites

American taxpayers will pay more than $1.2 billion to clean up after polluters at Superfund toxic waste sites across the country in 2006, according to a new analysis released today by the Florida Public Interest Research Group. This marks the 11th year that taxpayers will pay to protect the health of the one in four Americans living within four miles of a Superfund site instead of polluters, as the program intended.

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