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

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

New Report Identifies Banks Consumers Complain About Most

Thousands of Americans are using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s public Consumer Complaints Database to settle disputes with their banks.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Big Banks, Big Complaints

In this report we explore consumer complaints to the CFPB about bank accounts and services with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with their banks.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Report on Mobile Payment Systems

CALPIRG Education Fund) releases a new report titled, “The Future is Calling: A Consumer Guide to Mobile Payment Systems.” The report explains how this new technology works and provides consumers with the information they need to best utilize mobile payment systems in a safe and secure way.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Consumer Protection

GOOD NEWS FOR CONSUMERS & FIRMS THAT WANT TO PLAY FAIR

Statement of Jon Fox, CALPIRG Consumer Advocate, on the Senate Confirmation of Richard Cordray to Full Term as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director

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28,000 CALIFORNIANS TELL SENATORS TO STOP CODDLING WALL STREET AND CONFIRM CFPB DIRECTOR

CALPIRG leads a delegation of Bay Area community leaders calling on the Senate to confirm Richard Cordray to a full term as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, present the signatures of more
than 160,000 people, including over 28,000 Californians. 

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

CALPIRG Applauds AG’s New Privacy Guidelines for Online Apps

New guidelines urge mobile app developers to be judicious in the data they collect while being mindful of user privacy - shining the spotlight on consumer privacy.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CA:PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves

“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. Unfortunately we can’t and until that’s the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys.”

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Consumer Protection

Gov. Brown signs two social media privacy laws, protecting consumers on social networks

Gov. Jerry Brown signs two CALPIRG-supported bills protecting the privacy of social media accounts.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Higher Bank Fees Now the Norm for Consumers

New report confirms what consumers already know – bank fees are increasing and free checking accounts are harder to find.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

As Fall Financial Aid is Disbursed, Senator Issues Urgent Warning to Students Using Campus Debit Cards

Financial aid distributed in the next weeks can quickly be lost to predatory bank fees .

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Common Sense Accounting Reforms For California Investors And Taxpayers

The California marketplace is plagued by increasing conflict-of-interest problems that lead to inaccurate corporate audits, an upsurge in “earnings restatements”, and a loss of investor confidence.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Rent-A-Bank Payday Lending:

One consequence of deregulation of interest rates, high credit card interest rates and high bank fees has been the rapid growth of the alternative financial services (or fringe banking) industry, which includes check cashing outlets, payday loan companies, rent-to-own stores, high cost second mortgage companies, sub-prime auto lenders, traditional pawn shops and the growing business of auto title pawn companies. This report examines payday lending in detail.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Don’t Freeze our Public Health and Consumer Safety Protections | Jon Fox

In the 175 days that the U.S. House of Representatives was in session during 2011, it passed more than 190 anti-regulatory bills. Congress put profits over public safety and they are still at it.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

50 Years Ago This Week, JFK Ushered in Modern Consumer Protection Era | Ed Mierzwinski

I've got a new column at Huffington Post, "50 Years Ago This Week, JFK Ushered in Modern Consumer Protection Era." I discuss President Kennedy's visionary "Special Message to the Congress on Protecting the Consumer Interest" announced on March 15, 1962. He declared that consumers have rights and government should protect them. Read the full column after the jump.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

FTC Releases Top Complaints for 2011, Identity Theft Tops the List | Jon Fox

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its list of top consumer complaints received by the agency in 2011. Unsurprisingly, identity theft complaints topped the list.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

WH urges privacy rights, industry promises "Do Not Track Sometimes" while states investigate Google | Ed Mierzwinski

As web giants amass more and more information about consumers for behavioral targeting and even "social discrimination" -- which can include differential pricing for the same product or the use of web tracking data and falsely-flagged websites to promote certain brandname drug use -- the White House has called for a privacy bill of rights. Companies and powerful industry lobbies seeking to keep those rights weak simultaneously rolled out their own "Do Not Track Us Sometimes" button.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Today, CFPB to announce overdraft fee investigation, unveil "penalty box" disclosure, possibly end $39 lattes. | Ed Mierzwinski

At a news conference in NYC today, Director Richard Cordray of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will announce a major investigation of bank overdraft fee practices and propose a model "penalty box" disclosure to appear on bank statements. The investigation could end the $39 latte-- $4 bucks for the coffee, $35 for the debit card overdraft fee.

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