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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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Report | PENNPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2015

Every year, state governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars through contracts for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, and other expenditures. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that the public can trust that state funds are spent as well as possible. 

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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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News Release | Financial Reform

We Need a Watchog: On eve of committee vote, consumer group petitions for reform

SCRANTON, Oct. 20 – Local residents and statewide consumer group PennPIRG, the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group, called for meaningful financial reform in a petition demonstration in downtown Scranton today.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Health insurance industry getting desperate

The health-insurance industry is getting desperate. Funding a bogus study claiming that health-care reform will drive up the cost of coverage ("Health-plan Lobby's Tough," Oct. 13) is part of a last-ditch effort to derail reform. Despite the scare tactics, Congress is making headway.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Edinboro businesswoman visits Washington to discuss health-care reform

Zimmer is one of about 110 small-business owners traveling to Washington, D.C., to see their respective congressional leaders. Their trip is an effort by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group to show Congress that these business people want health-care reform.

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Media Hit | Financial Reform

Consumer relief

It is not getting much attention locally but the big banks, the mortgage lenders and the insurance companies are working to kill legislation in Washington that would give consumers much-needed protections in the financial marketplace.

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News Release | PennPIRG and Media and Democracy Coalition | Consumer Protection

Public Interest Groups Urge Lawmakers to Support Broadband Plan that Serves the Public Good

For this year’s OneWebDay PennPIRG and the Media and Democracy Coalition will release A Public Interest Internet Agenda and join Philadelphia residents for a policy panel discussion on the future of local broadband access.  The event is being held at 7pm in the University of the Arts as part of Philadelphia’s inaugural OneWebDay celebration.

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