Defend the Consumer Bureau

Our Consumer Cop On the Financial Beat

You should be able to save, invest and manage your money without fear of being trapped, tricked or ripped off by the institutions you're trusting with your financial future. That’s why we need strong consumer protections on Wall Street.

The 2008 economic collapse made it even more clear that Americans need a watchdog agency devoted to creating and enforcing fair, clear and transparent rules to protect consumers in the financial marketplace. So in 2010, we helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to be our watchdog on Wall Street. But now, the Trump administration and Wall Street's allies in Congress are looking to weaken or eliminate the Consumer Bureau. We can't let that happen.

The CFPB Gets the Job Done

Despite the fact that the CFPB is not widely known, it's been a huge success for consumers, returning nearly $12 billion to more than 29 million people who were ripped off by companies that broke the law … in just six years. 

The CFPB holds big banks, debt collectors, and lenders accountable. Here are a few examples of some of the cases the CFPB has taken on to protect consumers: 

In 2015, the Department of Justice and 47 states joined the CFPB in a $216 million action against JP Morgan Chase Bank for illegal debt collection practices affecting more than half a million Americans.
When Wells Fargo employees were caught opening unauthorized debit and credit accounts using their customer's information, the CFPB fined Wells Fargo $100 million for fraud. 
The CFPB fined Equifax andTransUnion — two of the three largest credit reporting agencies — $5 million for selling inflated credit scores to consumers that were different from ones actually used by lenders, and returned $17 million to those consumers harmed by the deception.

In addition, the Consumer Bureau has helped level the financial playing field, educating veterans, senior citizens, new homeowners, college students, and low-income consumers on how to keep their finances secure. 

The Consumer Bureau's success should be earning it applause in Washington. The idea that consumers deserve protection against fraud and other misleading practices shouldn't be controversial.

Yet instead of cheering on the Consumer Bureau, the Trump administration and some members of Congress are pushing to weaken or even get rid of it. 

Senators: Keep our Watchdog on Wall Street

We can keep our consumer cop on the financial beat — but only if we can convince enough senators to stand up and defend the Consumer Bureau, and stop any bad bills that try to roll back or eliminate consumer protections.

Even with the Consumer Bureau on the job, many Americans are still at risk of reckless financial practices that threaten their homes, their retirement savings, and their overall well-being. That’s why we don’t simply need the Consumer Bureau to exist: We need to make it even better, by strengthening commonsense consumer protections, spreading the word about its success and potential, and defending it from constant attacks from Wall Street.   

In the wake of the Great Recession, we helped spearhead the creation of the Consumer Bureau. Now, we need your help to stand up for consumer protection once again, and defend the CFPB from those who would weaken or eliminate it.  

Check out our Reports about the CFPB

In the years since the Consumer Bureau was created, we've worked alongside Frontier Group to research and review the CFPB's Consumer Complaint Database to publish a series of reports documenting the problems consumers are facing in the financial marketplace, how the Consumer Bureau is helping to resolve these issues, and what steps should be taken to ensure consumers are protected. Click through to learn more about each of these reports: 

Medical Debt Malpractice
Big Banks, Big Overdraft Fees
Predatory Loans & Predatory Loan Complaints
Mortgages and Mortgage Complaints
Debt Collectors, Debt Complaints
Credit Cards, Consumer Complaints
Big Credit Bureaus, Big Mistakes

Private Loans, Public Complaints
Big Banks, Big Complaints

Issue updates

Blog Post | Financial Reform

House Committee Takes Actions To Clean Up Credit Bureau Mistakes | Ed Mierzwinski

In committee votes this week and last week, the House Financial Services Committee sent a package of credit reporting reforms on to the House floor. It's the first major Congressional action to rein in the so-called Big 3 credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union - and other smaller, specialized bureaus and credit scoring companies, since 2003. The Big 3 national credit bureaus have been the most complained about financial firms to the CFPB for four years running, predating the massive Equifax data breach.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Financial Reform

As CFPB Reviews Overdraft Rules, UK Regulator Makes Pro-Consumer Changes | Ed Mierzwinski

As the CFPB conducts a ten-year regulatory review of the Overdraft Rule established by the pre-CFPB regulators in 2010, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority has announced sweeping changes to address what it calls a "dysfunctional" overdraft market. The US system prohibits overdraft fees on debit and ATM transactions unless you opt-in to fee-based "standard overdraft protection," but the fees average over $32 per overdraft and CFPB has accused some banks of deceptive marketing of the service. Meanwhile, the UK's FCA is banning fixed fee overdrafts and requiring UK banks to treat overdrafts as loans subject to reasonable interest rates. We've asked CFPB to ban overdrafts on debit and ATM transactions.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Financial Reform

Consumer Privacy Fight In Congress Intensifies | Ed Mierzwinski

The media are reporting that efforts led by BigTech and BigPhone to push Congress to enact a self-serving umbrella privacy law on Capitol Hill are stalling. But that's only for now; they are still pushing hard. Pushback from legislators with stronger state laws is helping slow them down. So are the welcome efforts of civil rights colleagues to demand that digital and algorithmic decisions not discriminate. There's an important civil rights briefing later this afternoon on Capitol Hill. Learn more. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Proposed DOJ settlement with CVS Health and Aetna fails to adequately protect competition in national healthcare markets | Mike Landis

Last October, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and five state attorneys general sued to prevent CVS Health (the nation’s largest retail pharmacy and one of the two largest pharmacy benefit managers) from acquiring Aetna (the nation’s third largest insurer). Their complaint alleges that the merger violates federal antitrust law by reducing competition, raising healthcare prices, reducing quality and stifling innovation.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

U.S. PIRG: CVS-Aetna merger bad for American healthcare

A merger already approved by the Justice Department is undergoing an extremely rare hearing in federal court.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

U.S. PIRG celebrates 10 years of the Credit CARD Act

U.S. PIRG celebrated the 10th anniversary of the passage of the groundbreaking Credit CARD (Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure) Act today by joining with the law’s chief sponsor Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) at a U.S. Capitol press conference.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

You're Not Alone: CFPB Complaints on the Rise

While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new director entertains removing its consumer complaint database from public view, that website feature is proving its worth. The CFPB published a record 257,000 consumer complaints in 2018, according to a new report by U.S. PIRG Education Fund. That brings the total to nearly 1.2 million since the CFPB began collecting complaints in December 2011.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection

Tyson expands chicken strips recall to nearly 12 million pounds

Tyson Foods has expanded a recall of chicken nuggets that might contain metal by approximately 11.8 million pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strips, and is an expansion of a March 21 recall.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Fisher-Price recalls nearly 5 million potentially deadly Rock n’Play sleepers

Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million Rock n’Play baby sleepers on Friday. U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog Adam Garber issued a response: "“While we’re pleased that Fisher-Price is finally recalling these dangerous sleepers, 30 deaths in 10 years is 30 deaths too many and 10 years too late."

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund & Frontier Group | Consumer Protection

Older Consumers in the Financial Marketplace

Older consumers are at risk of harm from predatory financial behavior. An analysis of more than 72,000 financial complaints submitted by older consumers (those 62 years of age and older) to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB, or Consumer Bureau) and contained in its Consumer Complaint Database suggests that mistreatment of older consumers by financial companies is widespread.

> Keep Reading

Guidance for Utilities Commissions on Time of Use Rates

As rapidly evolving renewable and energy efficiency technologies and economics drive ongoing transformation of America’s power sector, advocates from consumer, clean energy and environmental organizations are working together to provide guidance for utilities commissions and other stakeholders grappling with issues of electricity rate design.

> Keep Reading

Protecting Those Who Serve

This report, the tenth in our series on the CFPB's Public Consumer Complaint Database, is called "Protecting Those Who Serve." It is an analysis of more than 44,000 consumer complaints from active-duty servicemembers, veterans and their families. The report also explains the work the CFPB and its Office of Servicemember Affairs does to protect military families in the financial marketplace. Debt problems also are a leading cause of revoking secuirty clearances, which affects military preparedness.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

Medical Debt Malpractice

Millions of Americans are contacted by debt collectors every year over debt related to medical expenses. "Medical Debt Malpractice" is the latest (9th) in our series based on analysis of complaints in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's public complaint database. The report demonstrates that the CFPB is a critical agency protecting consumers against unfair financial practices and needs to be defended against special interest attacks.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Student, Education, and Consumer Groups Defend CFPB To Congress

On February 13, nearly 60 local, state and national student advocacy, professional, consumer, educational, faith and other organizations sent a letter to Congressional leaders expressing "strong support for the crucial work the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) does on behalf of student loan borrowers." The "borrower-focused" letter also urged Congress "to ensure the agency remains well-positioned to solve borrowers’ problems, which includes protecting the Bureau’s single-Director structure and its independent funding, and maintaining Director Richard Cordray until his term ends."

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Blog Post | Public Health, Consumer Protection

How safe is our food? Not safe enough, says PIRG Consumer Watchdog team, and it's trending in the wrong direction

Unsafe food recalls in the U.S. are trending the wrong way. From 2013 to 2017, they rose 10 percent overall, and a whopping 83 percent for the most hazardous meat and poultry recalls.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Financial Reform

Mulvaney Lobs One Last Softball To Industry Opponents of CFPB | Ed Mierzwinski

As the year 2018 came to an end, U.S. PIRG, Americans for Financial Reform and AFR members filed the last in in a seemingly interminable series of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Requests for Information. Although there was no clear intent to this "Data Collection" RFI, we, and allied academic scholars who filed a separate comment, both inferred it as another opportunity for industry opponents of the CFPB to attack the Bureau's consumer protection mission -- this time by challenging its collection and use of data to evaluate and respond to financial marketplace problems that harm consumers. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Financial Reform

EU NGOs Blast Google Locational Data Collection as US Groups Blast FTC on Privacy | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, 7 member groups of the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) asked each of their national Data Protection Authorities to investigate Google Android's smartphone locational data collection practices following an investigative report by the Norwegian Consumer Council (Forbrukerrådet) finding that Google may be in violation of the new European GDPR privacy law. All the groups are members of the U.S. PIRG-backed TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue, which itself  followed up on the report and EU actions with a letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Meanwhile, as the Senate prepared for an afternoon FTC oversight hearing today where Facebook may be a focus, we joined leading groups in a separate letter to complain to the FTC about its biased staff report that adopts unsubstantiated industry claims in defense of an FTC call to the administration for weak baseline privacy choices. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Financial Reform

2019 Fight Over Data Privacy Rights Heating Up Already | Ed Mierzwinski

Next year, a highly-anticipated privacy and data rights battle will occur in Congress. Powerful special interests from Google to Facebook are responding to the new European General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) by seeking to quash any similar effort to protect U.S. consumers while simultaneously seeking to preempt a new California privacy law before it takes effect in 2020. Will we continue as data collector products, not their customers, or will we gain control over our own financial DNA? The state PIRGs are in this one; guess which side we're on. Today we joined 34 leading groups in issuing shared Privacy Principles.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Update to How You Can Change Your Experian Credit Freeze PIN | Mike Litt

Our consumer campaign director provides an update to how you can change your Experian credit freeze PIN after a security flaw was discovered two weeks ago.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced today it would continue to maintain its public consumer complaint database, and that it also plans to make a number of “enhancements” to the database. These include: providing financial information and details into the complaint process to both better address questions and inform consumers before issuing a complaint; and adding materials to help consumers who seek answers to specific questions from financial companies.

News Release

Statement of Higher Ed Campaign Director Kaitlyn Vitez on the reintroduction of the Overdraft Protection Act, which would improve consumer disclosures and limit excessive fees. 

Blog Post

Were you affected by the Capital One breach, one of the largest thefts of data from any bank to date?

News Release | U.S. PIRG

Google will pay a $170 million penalty to settle claims that YouTube “illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent” through its advertising practices, the Federal Trade Commission announced today.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

College is expensive, requiring many students to take out significant loans to afford an education. On top of that, students have to deal with the additional costs of textbooks, computers and other critical supplies. As students head back to school -- or to school for the first time -- U.S. PIRG Education Fund is releasing a money-saving guide to help them cut those additional costs.

Consumer Protection | U.S. PIRG

Campus debit cards cost students over $24 million in fees

Report shows how campus debit cards — along with how they are marketed — are putting students' financial well-being at risk across the country.

 

Consumer Protection | U.S. PIRG

The real price of medications

The results of our investigation of variations in prescription drug prices may surprise you.

 

Consumer Protection | U.S. PIRG

Driving into debt

The hidden costs of risky auto loans to consumers and our communities

 

Consumer Protection

Congressional investigation concludes that Equifax breach was entirely preventable

The worst data breach in history could have been prevented with some basic security measures.

 
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DEFEND THE CFPB

Tell your representative to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

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