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News Release | U.S. PIRG | 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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Blog Post | Financial Reform

The More I Hear About OPM Data Breach, The Less I Know, Except This: It's Bad | Ed Mierzwinski

Was it 4 million, 14 million or 18 million records breached (how many times) (likely) by Chinese hackers? Whose fault was it? The USOPM director says no one's. Really? Perhaps the worst data breach ever raises lots of questions, but I haven't heard any good answers. Federal employees, their families, their friends and their neighbors -- because all of them could be victims -- deserve better answers, just as they deserve better service than USOPM's credit monitoring provider is giving them.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Hill Threats to CFPB Escalate As CFPB Protects Consumers, Servicemembers | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the House Appropriations Committee, at the behest of both Wall Street and predatory lenders seeking to run amok, will vote to eliminate the CFPB's independence from the politicized appropriations process. Meanwhile, over at the CFPB, important work to protect consumers, including servicemembers, from unfair and predatory financial practices continues.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Data Breach Here, Data Breach There, Data Breach Everywhere! | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED 10 June Re DHS Breach: If you shop with plastic, have health insurance, pay taxes, work for the federal government, or (fill in blank) you’re at risk of a data breach. And with so much information about you already available on the Internet, it’s best not to select easy-search security questions like “Where were you born?” or answers like “Pizza.” What’s your best defense against identity theft? No, it isn’t credit monitoring, it’s a security freeze.

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How Companies Turn Your Facebook Activity Into a Credit Score

This story in The Nation explains our work challenging the way data brokers use "black box," or secret, algorithms to make scoring decisions that may violate the law and deny credit opportunities. This work was also the subject of our recent livestream event featuring Professor Frank Pasquale and his new book, "The Black Box Society." We've now posted an archive of that event, in 3 chapters on our Youtube page.

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News Release | Health Care

Nationwide study of new health exchanges shows Pennsylvania how to lower costs for consumers

Philadelphia, PA – Many states are creating health exchanges to deliver better value for consumers, and Pennsylvania should follow their lead, according to Making the Grade, a new report by PennPIRG. Health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better, more affordable options for coverage.  Under the federal health reform law, each state will have an exchange up and running in 2014.

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Media Hit | Food

3 consumer groups push Pa. on food safety

Hoping to spur legislators to pass food safety reforms, three prominent consumer groups Wednesday released a report identifying 85 recalls triggered by contaminated foods nationwide over the last 13 months -- the majority linked to the potentially deadly bacteria salmonella, the pathogen responsible for the country's largest ever egg recall last month.

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Media Hit | Food

PennPIRG urges Senate to pass bill to strengthen FDA

A coalition of consumer groups says that a steady stream of food recalls - including last month's pullback of more than half a billion eggs by two Iowa producers - shows how urgent it is for Congress to require regular inspections of production facilities and to give the Food and Drug Administration authority to order food recalls.

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Media Hit | Food

Local Group Calls for Stronger Food Safety Laws

Alana Miller (right), with PennPIRG — the Public Interest Research Group of Pennsylvania — says Congress must pass the FDA Food Modernization Act.

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Media Hit | Food

PennPIRG urges Senate to pass food recall legislation

The U.S. Senate’s handling of food safety protections was called into question Wednesday in a study released by PennPIRG, the Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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