Consumer Protection

PROTECTING CONSUMER SAFETY—Toys should not be toxic or dangerous for children to play with. Our food should not make us sick. The terms for banking and credit accounts should be clear and easy to understand.

LOOKING OUT FOR CONSUMERS

CALPIRG’s consumer program works to alert the public to hidden dangers and scams and to ban anti-consumer practices and unsafe products.

TROUBLE IN TOYLAND

For 28 years, CALPIRG’s "Trouble In Toyland" report has surveyed store shelves and identified choking hazards, noise hazards and other dangers. Our report has led to at least 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years.

Get our toy safety report.

BIGGER BANKS, BIGGER FEES

In April, CALPIRG released a report in which we surveyed more than 350 bank branches and 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. We also found that despite widespread stories about the “death” of free checking, free and low-cost checking choices are still widely available, if consumers shop around.

Find out how to beat high bank fees.

SEE ALL CONSUMER RESOURCES

Issue updates

Blog Post | Consumer Protection

House holds stacked hearing to attack retirement savings rule proposal | Ed Mierzwinski

The House Financial Services Committee is holding a typically stacked hearing -- one consumer-side witness against four Wall Street-backed lobbyists  -- to attack the important retirement savings rule proposed by the Department of Labor. The rule simply requires retirement advisors to put the customer's needs  -- not their own compensation -- first.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Court Reinstates Case Against Bank That Aided Senior Citizen Fraud | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the 3rd Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that had denied class action status to victims of a scheme targeting senior citizens who were suing Zions Bank and its payment processor affiliates for aiding the fraudsters. U.S. regulators led by the Department of Justice have been fighting this and similar schemes, yet powerful special interests have managed to create a false narrative in Washington, DC that has been picked up by opponents of consumer protection laws. They falsely claim that the government's target is "legitimate" payday lenders and gun dealers. Wrong, the target is financial crimes against consumers, many consumers.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

CarMax’s Sales Practices Endanger Lives in California

This report finds that CarMax, the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, is selling many unsafe, unrepaired, recalled vehicles in California that are hazardous not only to the people who buy CarMax cars, but also to their families, other motorists, bike riders, and pedestrians.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

CARMAX IS ENDANGERING LIVES IN CALIFORNIA

CALPIRG Education Fund and the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) Foundation today released results of research into CarMax’s sales of unsafe, defective recalled cars in California, and called upon California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the California Department of Motor Vehicles to protect the public from CarMax’s sales of unrepaired, defective vehicles that are subject to federal safety recalls.

> Keep Reading

Los Angeles Times: Consumer groups seek probe into CarMax sales of unrepaired recalled cars

Two consumer groups have asked California’s attorney general and the Department of Motor Vehicles to investigate the sales practices of used car giant CarMax. The California Public Interest Research Group and the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation said the auto retailer regularly sells used vehicles that have been recalled but not repaired -- despite advertising that its autos undergo rigorous “quality” inspections.

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'Trouble in Toyland' report reveals toxic, dangerous toys

This year's survey revealed the results of lab tests on toys for toxic chemicals. Some items on the list of high toxic items came as a shock to parents, like a Ninja Turtle pencil box, which is being sold at select Toys-R-Us stores.

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Calpirg Releases Annual Hazardous Toy Report

The report says small kids are still at risk from toys containing lead, phthalates (thal-ates) and other chemicals. Researchers also found toys for toddlers with parts small enough to cause choking.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves

CALPIRG releases 28th annual Trouble in Toyland report, which finds dangerous and toxic toys still on America’s store shelves hazardous toys despite recent progress.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Report: In California, Experian Gets Big Complaints

A new CALPIRG Education Fund report finds that California had the highest number of credit report complaints (1,526) while it ranked in 5th place nationally in credit report complaints per 100,000 residents.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

New Report Identifies Most Troublesome Private Lenders to Students

A new CALPIRG Education Fund report, “Private Loans, Public Complaints, is the second in a series that analyzes the data in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaints Database. This report focuses on complaints about private student loans, which are the riskiest and most expensive way to pay for a college education.

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Big Banks, Bigger Fees

Since Congress largely deregulated consumer deposit (checking and savings) accounts beginning in the early 1980s, the PIRGs have tracked bank deposit account fee changes and documented the banks’ long-term strategy to raise fees, invent new fees and make it harder to avoid fees. 

> Keep Reading

Big Banks, Bigger Fees

Since bank deregulation began in the early 1980s, the PIRGs and other consumer groups have conducted numerous studies documenting skyrocketing consumer banking fees. Our studies have helped to focus national attention on the problem of skyrocketing bank fees. Our results are substantiated by the results of the Federal Reserve Board's annual fee reports to Congress.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Safe Energy

The Campus Credit Card Trap:

College students are among the most prominent targets for this marketing.   They are young and understand that they need credit to get ahead in the world. Some need credit because of the rising cost of a college education. Finally, most of them are clumped together on campuses that they either commute to or live at. This makes them easy to target.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Locked In a Cell:

A high level of concentration in a major industry can be accompanied by excessive market power, which in turn can reduce competition to the detriment of consumers.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Mistakes Do Happen:

The most common reflection of our reputation as a trustworthy consumer is our credit report. Unfortunately, the information contained in our credit reports, which are bought and sold daily to nearly anyone who requests and pays for them, does not always tell a true story.

> Keep Reading

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Food

California’s Initiative to label GMOs defeated, but States taking up the Fight | Jon Fox

Unfazed by the defeat of Prop 37 in California, consumer groups are working across states for labeling and have united as the Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO Labeling.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Vote Yes on Prop 37 | Emily Rusch

CALPIRG supports Prop 37 and encourages you to support it, too. The concept behind Prop 37 is simple. Should we as consumers know more about what is in our food? Should we know if our food contains genes that are modified through engineering? 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB says 1 in 5 credit scores sold to consumers have "meaningful" differences from scores lenders use | Ed Mierzwinski

CFPB has confirmed what consumer advocates have been saying all along - credit scores heavily marketed to consumers aren't the same as those used by lenders.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Parties Take a Stand for an Open Internet In 2012 | Jon Fox

There is at least one issue that both parties seem to agree on during this election cycle – that the Internet should remain free and open.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

California AG Launches New Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit | Jon Fox

CALPIRG applauds the creation of the Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit in the Department of Justice.

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