Protecting Consumers

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 THE PUBLIC

Arizona PIRG’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 years, the state PIRGs’ Trouble In Toyland report has surveyed store shelves and identified choking hazards, noise hazards and other dangers. To date, our report has led to at least 150 recalls and other actions to get dangerous toys off store shelves. Click the link to read our report.

BIGGER BANKS BIGGER FEES

In April, the state PIRGs 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.

Issue updates

News Release | Arizona PIRG | Consumer Protection

Common-Sense Refinancing Options Could Help Arizonans and Stabilize Housing Market

Data released today by the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) and the Center for Responsible Lending finds that making it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages could give consumers more options, save money, and stabilize Arizona’s housing market. In Arizona alone, over 300,000 households would qualify, saving them about $937 million.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

The Campus Debit Card Trap

Banks and other financial firms are taking advantage of a variety of opportunities to form partnerships with colleges and universities to produce campus student ID cards and to offer student aid disbursements on debit or prepaid cards. In addition to on-campus services, such as student ID functions offered on the card, some cards offer traditional debit card services linked to bank accounts; other cards provide additional reloadable prepaid card functions. The disbursement of financial aid and university refunds is the most significant partnership identified.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

BANKS SKIM MILLIONS IN FEES FROM STUDENT AID USING DEBIT-CARD-LINKED STUDENT IDS

The Campus Debit Card Trap, a new report released by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, finds that banks and financial firms now control or influence federal financial aid disbursement to over 9 million students by linking checking accounts and prepaid debit cards to student IDs.  According to the report, financial institutions now have affinity partnerships with almost 900 campuses nationwide, grafting bank products onto student IDs and other campus cards to become the primary recipient of billions in federal financial aid to distribute to students.

 

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Consumer Protection

Arizona PIRG Tells Congress: Don’t Freeze our Public Health and Consumer Safety Protections

Last year, in the 175 days that the U.S. House of Representatives was in session, it passed more than 190 anti-regulatory bills. Next up is H.R. 4078, the “Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012,” a bill that wrongly calls for a halt on all public health and consumer safety protections until the unemployment rate reaches six percent.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

CFPB announces major investigation of bank overdraft fee practices | Diane E. Brown

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will announce overdraft fee investigation, unveil "penalty box" disclosure, and possibly end $39 lattes.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Arizona PIRG Alerts Shoppers to Hidden Toy Hazards

Hazardous toys are still sold in stores across the country, according to the 22nd annual toy safety survey released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Consumer Protection

Arizona PIRG Applauds U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Passage of Comprehensive Product Safety Bill

The Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) today commended the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee for its passage of the CPSC Reform Act of 2007, S. 2045.  The bill is based on Arizona PIRG’s 3-part platform to protect the public: it strengthens bans on lead in children’s products, adds money and resources to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and improves surveillance of imports.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Statement of Diane E. Brown, Executive Director, on Latest Mattel-China Recall

The unfortunate news that another 9 million toys tainted with lead paint or dangerous small magnets were recalled today underscores many problems that need to be addressed.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Consumer Protection

Arizona Moves Closer Towards Combating Identity Theft

The House Judiciary Committee today voted in favor of SB1345, a bill that unanimously passed the Senate and would give consumers the right to put a security freeze on their credit files.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Group Commends Consumer Product Safety Commission for Taking First Step Toward Banning Lead in Children

Yesterday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took a long overdue first step toward banning lead in children’s metal jewelry. We have known for decades that lead can cause permanent developmental damage in children or even death, so we commend the CPSC commissioners for voting to protect children from lead exposure.

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CONSUMER ALERTS

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