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 | Financial Reform

U.S. Senate Takes Historic Step Toward Reining in Wall Street

The U.S. Senate's passage of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act tonight was long over-due and sets the stage for final passage of historic reform. While the bill is not perfect, it includes strong measures to rein in Wall Street’s casino bets, regulate the shadow derivatives markets, protect consumers and prevent future economic meltdowns.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Financial Reform

U.S. Senate Votes Down Broad Attack on State Enforcement of Wall Street Reforms

This afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted down a broad crippling amendment to the Wall Street Reform bill.  The amendment would have given the federal government sweeping ability to preempt or override states’ capacity to protect their own residents from dangerous and deceptive practices of banks and other financial institutions, while taking state Attorneys General off the corporate crime beat. 

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Financial Reform

Chairman Dodd’s Moves Wall Street and Consumer Protection Reform Legislation

Arizona PIRG applauds Chairman Dodd of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee for moving forward towards passage of legislation to protect American consumers and increase the stability of the economy. We expect that Wall Street bankers who wrecked havoc on the economy and were then bailed out by the taxpayers will continue to try to delay or kill this reform designed to protect people on Main Street.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Financial Reform

U.S. House Stands With Consumers Against Big Banks

The new financial reform legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday is an important step towards protecting consumers and taxpayers from reckless financial practices, according to the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG).

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

24th Annual Toy Safety Report - Many Toys Still Hazardous

Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s annual Trouble in Toyland report.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland 2006

According to the most recent data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), almost 73,000 children under the age of five were treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2005. Twenty children died from toy-related injuries last year.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Arizona's Food Safety Net

Protecting the safety and integrity of the food supply is one of the oldest functions of government, one that the American people expect their government to perform and perform well.

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Report | Arizona PIRG | Consumer Protection

Our Water, Our Future

In Arizona, the most recent drought of the past decade has surpassed the worst drought in the last 110 years of recordkeeping. Arizona’s finite, limited supply of water is being stretched between new, fast accumulating demands. Arizona’s population is projected to double by 2030. Much of this growth is occurring in rural areas of the state where there are minimal protections or regulations on water and its use. According to the U.S.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland 2005

“While we can report substantial progress after 20 years of advocacy on behalf of America’s littlest consumers, we are still finding trouble in toyland,” said Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

The Right Start

Toxic chemicals can be found in common baby products, according to a new report released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “The Right Start: The Need to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals from Baby Products” documents toxic chemicals, including phthalates and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), in teethers, bath books, and sleep accessories.

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TOY SAFETY TIPS ON-THE-GO

From toxic chemicals to choking hazards to dangerous magnets, see what dangerous toys to watch out for while you shop.

CONSUMER ALERTS

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