CFAnews Update – January 9, 2017

California Issues Needed Computer Energy Efficiency Rules Last month the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved the nation’s first-ever energy efficiency standards for computers and monitors. Leading national and California consumer groups are applauding the CEC, saying the new standards are expected to save Californians more than $370 million per years. “California’s steady leadership on energy … Continued

New Law Frees Consumers to Speak Up

Consumer reviews are essential tools for shoppers. Information about specific products or services, or about dealing with a particular seller, can help consumers make smart buying decisions and avoid hassles. If consumers have problems with their purchases, reviews by others can help them argue that their situations are not isolated and strengthen their demands for … Continued

CFAnews Update – December 15, 2016

Digital Communications Consumers Pay $60 Billion a Year in Overcharges The typical American household is overcharged $540 per year for digital communications services, according to a new CFA report describing a “tight oligopoly on steroids” in the digital communications market. The report, Overcharged and Underserved: How a Tight Oligopoly on Steroids Undermines Competition and Harms … Continued

4 Reasons is Your Key to a Safer Holiday Season

Holiday shopping season is upon us, and consumers across the country are trying to find the perfect safe gifts for their family and friends. To be an informed consumer, and to minimize the stress of holiday shopping, consumers should visit Managed by the U.S.  Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is a safety database … Continued

CFAnews Update – December 8, 2016

FIO Highlights Need for More Scrutiny of Insurance Industry Practices The insurance industry’s growing use of “big data,” marital status and sex-based pricing, and mandatory arbitration agreements can be harmful to consumers, the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) concluded in its first annual report on consumer access and protection issues related to auto insurance. Released late … Continued

CFAnews Update – November 22, 2016

Congress Urged to Pass a Clean Omnibus, Free of Harmful Riders CFA has joined a coalition of 260 organizations calling on President Obama and members of Congress to oppose any FY 2017 funding bills that include harmful policy riders. “Riders that undermine critical consumer protections should not be included in Appropriation bills,” said CFA Legislative … Continued

CFAnews Update – November 8, 2016

Proposed AT&T-Time Warner Merger Highlights Need to Stop Concentration As officials AT&T and Time Warner made the rounds last month seeking to build support for their proposed merger, CFA Director of Research Mark Cooper issued a warning that any such merger would be bad for consumers and that more needs to be done to address … Continued

CFAnews Update – October 19, 2016

Groups Urge CFPB to Strengthen Payday and Car Title Lending Rule Consumer and civil rights groups, including CFA, submitted final comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) earlier this month urging the agency to strengthen its proposed rule on payday and car title lending. The groups expressed support for the proposed rule’s underlying principle, … Continued

A Window into the Aftermath of ID Theft

Since 2003, the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has surveyed individuals who have sought its counseling for identity theft problems to ask them how their stolen information was fraudulently used and how the crime affected them. This year’s report, Identity Theft: the Aftermath 2016™, is even more revealing than previous ones because the ITRC … Continued

Why Consumers Demand and Need Strong Broadband Privacy Now

This op-ed originally appeared on Morning Consult. As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote on its proposed broadband privacy rules, internet service providers that would be covered by them and “edge providers” such as Google, which would not be directly affected but are concerned about the precedent that would be set, are stepping up … Continued

CFAnews Update – October 4, 2016

Wells Fargo Scandal Spotlights Need for an Independent Watchdog The recent Wells Fargo scandal involving the creation of millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts has highlighted the need for a tough and independent watchdog to oversee financial institutions. The accounts were created by employees so they could collect incentive bonuses for cross-selling, a … Continued

Lock Down Your Login to Protect Your Online Accounts 

The massive Yahoo data breach is a vivid reminder that our online accounts are rich targets for hackers. They’re looking for personal information that can be fraudulently used to take over our accounts, open new accounts in our names, steal our tax refunds, apply for jobs or government benefits, or send spam to our contacts. … Continued

What Yahoo Users Should Do in the Face of Massive Data Breach

The news that at least half a billion Yahoo accounts have been affected by a data breach –and that the company took two years to publicly acknowledge this – is very distressing, and not only to Yahoo users. It makes us wonder if we can ever rely on anyone who has our personal information to … Continued

Preventing Mass Mailing Fraud

With so many warnings about Internet fraud these days it’s easy to forget that some scammers are still using the mail to try to reach into our wallets – and succeeding. Americans are receiving tons of bogus solicitations in their mailboxes and losing millions. That’s why CFA has joined other organizations and government agencies in … Continued

CFAnews Update – September 20, 2016

Consumer Groups Urge Congress to Reject Trans-Pacific Partnership Citing its potential to undermine important consumer protections, CFA and Consumers Union wrote to members of Congress earlier this month urging them to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership if it comes up for a vote this year or in the future in its current form. “While we recognize … Continued

So You’ve Had a Data Breach, Now What?

Companies, organizations and agencies that hold and transmit people’s personal information should keep it reasonably secure from unauthorized access and use. But what if there is a data breach that exposes the information? How should the breached entity help those affected? Should it offer them identity theft services? If so, how should it choose the … Continued

CFAnews Update – August 19, 2016

New Truck Fuel Economy Standards Will Save Consumers Money The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new efficiency and emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles this week that CFA predicts will save consumers money. “We urged the agencies to set standards that would achieve meaningful fuel economy … Continued

Don’t Be Bamboozled By These Fast Growing Consumer Cons

The Consumer Federation of America and North American Consumer Protection Investigators recently released the top 10 consumer complaints state and local consumer protection agencies around the country received in 2015. Three types of complaints stood out as the fastest-growing last year. Be on the lookout for these popular problems to protect yourself and your family: … Continued

Alerting Taxpayers to Possible ID Theft

In the identity theft complaints reported to the Federal Trade Commission last year, the most common use of victims’ stolen information was to commit tax or wage fraud. What’s even more alarming is the upward trajectory of this type of fraud, from 32.8 percent of identity theft cases reported in 2014 to 45.3 percent in … Continued

Top Ten Consumer Problems of 2015

Have you ever received an unexpected call from the IRS, a utility company, or tech support demanding immediate payment or your personal information? “Don’t assume that it’s true,” says Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). Imposter scams were the fastest-growing complaints to state and local consumer … Continued

CFAnews Update – July 26, 2016

Industry Considers Update of Voluntary Window Covering Standard The Window Covering Manufacturing Association (WCMA) announced last month that it has initiated the process of opening up and updating the voluntary safety standard for window coverings, which includes window blinds and shades. Safety advocates have long sought action to reduce the toll of deaths and injuries … Continued

The Way that Multi-level Marketing Should Work

The settlement with Herbalife that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently achieved is a big win for consumers who paid hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for a money-making opportunity that in many cases failed to pan out. But we also hope that the restructuring that the Herbalife agreed to make to its operations will serve … Continued

CFAnews Update – July 14, 2016

House Passes Appropriations Bill That Would Undermine Consumer Protections The House of Representatives voted along largely party lines earlier this month to approve a Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 5485), which rolls back important consumer protections and undermines the ability of crucial agencies to fulfill their missions of protecting consumers and investors. … Continued

CFAnews Update – June 29, 2016

CFPB Urged to Close Loopholes in Payday, Car Title Rule Representatives of leading consumer, community, religious and civil rights organizations, including Consumer Federation of America, issued a joint statement last week, urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to close some “concerning loopholes” in the payday and car title loan rule proposals that could allow … Continued