Defend the Consumer Bureau

For more than 20 years, Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski has helped us stand up against big banks and credit card companies.

A CONSUMER COP ON THE FINANCIAL BEAT

You work hard to earn your money. You should be able to save, invest and manage your money without fear of being trapped, tricked or ripped off by the institutions you are trusting with your financial future.

That’s why we need strong consumer protections on Wall Street. And from the 2008 economic collapse, we know how big of an impact those institutions can have on our economy when they play fast and loose with our money. It made it clear: Americans need a watchdog agency on Wall Street, devoted to creating and enforcing fair, clear and transparent rules to protect consumers.

So in 2010, we helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to be our consumer cop on the financial beat.

THE CFPB GETS THE JOB DONE

Despite the fact that the CFPB is not widely known, they’ve been hugely successful at working 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 Consumer Bureau 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:

When American Honda Finance used discriminatory pricing to rip off African-American, Hispanic and Asia/Pacific Island borrowers who paid too much for car loans, the CFPB returned $24 million to these consumers.

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 over half a million Americans.

When it was discovered that Wells Fargo employees were opening unauthorized debit and credit accounts using their customer's information, the CFPB fined Wells Fargo $100 million for fraud.

The CFPB fined Equifax and TransUnion — 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 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. Yet instead of cheering on the agency, the Trump administration and many members of Congress are pushing to weaken or even get rid of it.

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 Financial Protection Bureau to exist: We need to make it even better, by strengthening commonsense consumer protections.

Issue updates

Blog Post | Consumer Tips, Budget, Consumer Protection

CALPIRG’s Ultimate Summer Tip Guide Sander KushenTeresa Murray

Summer is here! To help you enjoy the season a bit more, CALPIRG compiled these handy tips to make sure you and your family stay safe and healthy this summer.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Food for thought: Are your groceries safe?

In a new report, CALPIRG Education Fund surveyed 50 of the largest grocery and convenience store chains nationwide on their notification practices and talked to experts about what needs to change to improve both communication and public safety.

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

New report: Food for thought: Are your groceries safe?

In a new report, Food for thought: Are your groceries safe?, CALPIRG Education Fund surveyed 50 of the largest grocery and convenience store chains nationwide on their notification practices and talked to experts about what needs to change to improve both communication and public safety.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB receives over 2,500 junk fee comments | Ed Mierzwinski

In response to a tidal wave of unfair marketplace practices, the CFPB asked the public to submit comments on the impact of junk fees on their lives. Some 2,500 comments later, consumers have described the pain points caused by unfair junk fees.

Cover graphic courtesy Student Borrower Protection Center, used by permission

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection

New report: Food for thought: Are your groceries safe?

In a new report, Food for thought: Are your groceries safe?, CALPIRG Education Fund surveyed 50 of the largest grocery and convenience store chains nationwide on their notification practices and talked to experts about what needs to change to improve both communication and public safety.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection, Solid Waste

As ‘Right To Repair’ bill introduced in California Senate, new survey shows widespread bipartisan support

Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman has introduced a new bill to require access to the parts, tools, service manuals and repair software that people need to repair electronic equipment.

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News Release | US PIRG | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection

Back to school: financial literacy tips for college students, teens

During this time of year, families are thinking about the children going back to school, and for parents who are sending their kids to college, it can be a bit overwhelming. A key to addressing those concerns is making sure their teens are prepared for “adulting” -- in other words, taking care of their own lives.

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Keeping Children Safe From Dangerous Toys

Every year, as consumers begin purchasing toys for the holiday season, CALPIRG Education Fund visits numerous toy stores, malls and dollar stores to find potentially dangerous toys sitting on store shelves. In November 2015, we released our 30th annual report, "Trouble in Toyland 2015." Over the years, our reports have led to more than 150 recalls and other regulatory actions, helping to remove dangerous products from store shelves and keep children safe.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Food for thought: Are your groceries safe?

In a new report, CALPIRG Education Fund surveyed 50 of the largest grocery and convenience store chains nationwide on their notification practices and talked to experts about what needs to change to improve both communication and public safety.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

The CFPB Turns 10

This report recaps the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s results for consumers over the past 10 years, the steps taken to return the CFPB back to its mission after three years of retrograde decisions under the Trump Administration, and our recommendations for CFPB action moving forward.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection

Getting Off the Hook of a Predatory Tow

CALPIRG Education Fund identified 14 common-sense towing protections that should be available to consumers in every state, and researched which states offer those safeguards. These protections range from who is responsible for damages caused by careless towing to whether you are guaranteed the option to pay by credit card.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

What are Californians Fixing?

According to our review of data from iFixit, a self-described “repair guide for everything, written by everyone,” nearly 8 million unique users from California went onto their website, www.ifixit.com, to look up how to repair something in 2018.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

How Safe Is Our Food?

Americans rely on a vast network of farms and businesses to provide safe food daily.  But in recent years, a string of high-profile recalls ranging from romaine lettuce to millions of pounds of beef to Ritz and Goldfish crackers have called into question the system developed to ensure safe food reaches people’s plates. The ubiquity of the problem can make grocery shopping a game of Russian Roulette where what a family has for dinner could make them seriously sick.

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Pages

Blog Post | Consumer Tips, Budget, Consumer Protection

CALPIRG’s Ultimate Summer Tip Guide Sander KushenTeresa Murray

Summer is here! To help you enjoy the season a bit more, CALPIRG compiled these handy tips to make sure you and your family stay safe and healthy this summer.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB receives over 2,500 junk fee comments | Ed Mierzwinski

In response to a tidal wave of unfair marketplace practices, the CFPB asked the public to submit comments on the impact of junk fees on their lives. Some 2,500 comments later, consumers have described the pain points caused by unfair junk fees.

Cover graphic courtesy Student Borrower Protection Center, used by permission

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Safe Energy

Save Rooftop Solar | Sander Kushen

Earlier this week the California Public Utility Committee proposed a rule change that could devestate rooftop solar. The new rule, NEM3.0, would assess a monthly solar penalty fee to all solar and storage customers, slash net metering credit by 80% and reduce the agreed upon billing structure for existing solar customers. Today, participants had one minute to voice their response at the CPUC meeting. Here is my statement:

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

How I got my finances in order | Mike Litt

Even with the knowledge I’ve gained working as a consumer advocate for several years, getting my finances in order has been a work in progress. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

How I started my estate and end-of-life planning | Mike Litt

Until recently, I did not have estate and end-of-life planning in mind, but it was the natural next step in my quest to be a responsible adult, with a nudge from the existential threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post

Summer is here! To help you enjoy the season a bit more, CALPIRG compiled these handy tips to make sure you and your family stay safe and healthy this summer.

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund

In a new report, Food for thought: Are your groceries safe?, CALPIRG Education Fund surveyed 50 of the largest grocery and convenience store chains nationwide on their notification practices and talked to experts about what needs to change to improve both communication and public safety.

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund

In a new report, CALPIRG Education Fund surveyed 50 of the largest grocery and convenience store chains nationwide on their notification practices and talked to experts about what needs to change to improve both communication and public safety.

Blog Post

In response to a tidal wave of unfair marketplace practices, the CFPB asked the public to submit comments on the impact of junk fees on their lives. Some 2,500 comments later, consumers have described the pain points caused by unfair junk fees.

Cover graphic courtesy Student Borrower Protection Center, used by permission

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