Blog Posts By:

Ed Mierzwinski,
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Congress must reject demands from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to use the pandemic as cover to achieve one of their long-standing goals: making it nearly impossible for workers and consumers to hold companies accountable when they fail to use reasonable care to keep their operations safe. When America does return to work consumers and workers must have peace of mind that businesses are taking reasonable steps to protect them. The bottom line is that when nobody is accountable, nobody is safe. Congress must enact an additional Covid relief package to help struggling consumers, but shouldn't include the Chamber's corporate lawsuit immunity demand, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) continues to include in his latest proposed pandemic package.

Our latest report, last week, found July set yet a fifth consecutive month of record consumer complaints to the CFPB. Complaints about credit report mistakes, always among the leaders, have surged dramatically during the pandemic. The CFPB hasn't done anything about it, but Congress has an opportunity in its next relief package to ban negative credit reporting.

On Monday, the U.S. House approved H.R. 5332, the Protecting Your Credit Score Act of 2020 (Gottheimer-NJ). U.S. PIRG joined other leading advocates of credit reporting reform in a support letter to the House last week. The bill takes a number of steps to make it easier to fix credit reporting errors.

As of today, consumer complaints to the CFPB set a third straight monthly record in May, with 35,093 complaints reported. Complaints about credit reporting lead by far, followed by debt collection, credit card and mortgage complaints. Job and income losses during the pandemic are hitting families hard.

I’ve been reading the CFPB’s mail. It’s okay, you can too. It’s public. Not surprisingly, the latest CFPB consumer complaints paint a grim picture of the pandemic’s effect on family finances. I ask: Why isn’t the CFPB doing more to help struggling consumers?

This blog explains U.S. PIRG's support for automated warning and contact tracing, subject to appropriate privacy and civil liberties protections, which can provide critical information quickly about who has potentially been exposed.

Yesterday, U.S. PIRG joined leading consumer groups and bank trade associations in a joint letter urging Congress at the soonest possible opportunity to clarify that economic impact payments responding to this public health emergency are exempt from otherwise legally binding garnishment orders.

Rich Cordray, the first director of the CFPB and author of a new book on his six years at its helm, has issued a powerful memo to its current director, Kathy Kraninger, urging her to stop "relaxing" duties on financial firms and to "lose no further time" in "shield[ing] households and families" from the "economic harms" they face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The CFPB's first director, Rich Cordray, has published a book, "Watchdog," explaining efforts to set up and run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

On Wednesday, the full U.S. House is expected to vote on a credit reporting reform package, HR 3621, the Comprehensive CREDIT Act. Meanwhile, a PIRG analysis finds that half of all complaints to the CFPB in 2019 concerned credit reporting and the most-complained about companies, in the entire database, were the so-called  Big 3 credit bureaus.