Public Policy Changes Needed During the COVID-19 Crisis

Check out CFA’s Brochure 1. Take Steps To Reduce The Spread Of The Disease Halting the spread of COVID-19 is a top priority, which must be front and center in any agenda to address the crisis. Create a comprehensive national paid sick leave policy. Lack of paid sick leave encourages tens of millions of workers, … Continued

When the Truth is Misleading

When are literally truthful claims nevertheless misleading? One example is the subject of a recent letter that CFA and the Center for Science in the Public Interest sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The letter asks FDA to enforce deceptive advertising rules against Molson Coors for its Vizzy advertising campaign. Vizzy is a … Continued

It’s Time to Ban Surveillance Advertising

Consumer Federation of America has joined a broad coalition of consumer, privacy, civil rights, and anti-monopoly groups in a campaign to ban “surveillance advertising.” This is the practice of tracking and profiling individuals and groups, and then targeting them for ads based on their behavior, relationships, and other personal information. We’ve long been concerned about … Continued

CFAnews Update – March 22, 2021

Risks from SPAC Mania Demand Policy Response SPACs, or Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, have boomed in recent years, with offerings reaching an all-time high of $83 billion in 2020 and with even more in the pipeline for 2021. According to investor advocates, however, this growing way for companies to go public “represents attempts by sponsors … Continued

CFAnews Update – February 25, 2021

Groups Urge USDA to Take Action on Poultry Pathogens Consumer Federation of America, along with partner groups Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Reports, and members of Stop Foodborne Illness, submitted a petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling for the agency to develop enforceable standards to reduce foodborne infections caused … Continued

New DOT Rule Undermines Airline Consumer Protections

In a Feb. 5 op-ed, David Heffernan, a former outside counsel for Airlines for America, the airlines’ lobbying organization in Washington, and Robert Kneisley, a former associate general counsel for Southwest Airlines, took pains to defend an anti-consumer policy that was stealthily released the day after Thanksgiving in the waning days of former U.S. Transportation Secretary … Continued

We Need Real Privacy Protection in the States, not the Washington Privacy Act’s Illusion of Privacy

Consumer Federation of America strongly supports states’ efforts to protect their residents’ privacy. Unfortunately, we find ourselves once again opposing the Washington Privacy Act (SB 5062), a bill supported by major tech companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Google. It’s based on the outdated “notice and opt-out” framework that underpins the current system of commercial … Continued

CFAnews Update – January 27, 2021

Consumer Champions Chosen for Two Key Financial Regulatory Posts On the eve of Inauguration, the Biden-Harris Transition Team announced that it had selected leading consumer champions – Rohit Chopra and Gary Gensler – to head two key financial regulatory agencies, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) respectively. Both … Continued

Amazon’s “Dark Patterns” & How They Keep You From Cancelling Prime

If you’ve ever had trouble cancelling an online service, you may be interested in a study the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) recently conducted that documents the sophisticated methods Amazon uses to keep consumers who signed up for free trials of Prime from leaving. Apparently the process is the same when consumers try to cancel their regular Prime … Continued

CFAnews Update – January 12, 2020

Biden Urged to Support Consumer Protections During Pandemic As COVID-19 continued to spread across the country at alarming rates, CFA sent a memo to the Biden-Harris Transition Team last month outlining urgent consumer protections that are needed so that families can weather this unprecedented emergency. In particular, CFA’s memo notes that, due to underlying health … Continued

CFAnews Update – December 15, 2020

CFPB Urged to Strengthen Protections Against Discrimination Earlier this month, 48 consumer, civil rights, and public interest groups, including CFA, submitted comments in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Request for Information (RFI) on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and Regulation B. The groups urged the Bureau to use its authority for … Continued

Should You Buy a Genetic Testing Kit?

You’ve probably seen those commercials for direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests featuring people who discovered things about their families they never knew: Great-grandfather was a fisherman with blue eyes, just like me! Grandma fought for the right of women to vote! I have Native American roots! I found my long-lost sister! In one ad, a man … Continued

CFAnews Update – November 30, 2020

CFPB Pauses Anti-Consumer Reorganization Plan In the wake of the election and pushback from Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown, consumer groups, and even agency staff members, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced earlier this week that it would pause a plan to reorganize the Division of Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending (SEFL) … Continued

CFAnews Update – November 12, 2020

OCC Acts to Embolden Predatory Lenders, Eviscerate State Rate Caps Late last month, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) finalized the “True Lender Rule,” which fundamentally calls into question the power of state governments to independently regulate interest rate limits and could unleash predatory lending in all 50 states. The rule would … Continued

CFAnews Update – October 26, 2020

Auto Insurers Reap Billions in COVID Windfall Profits, Regulators Urged to Provide Relief New evidence confirms that auto insurers have reaped tens of billions in windfall profits due to the reduction in crashes and miles driven during the Coronavirus pandemic, as CFA and Center for Economic Justice (CEJ) predicted earlier this year. In a letter … Continued

CFAnews Update – October 14, 2020

FCC Urged to Leave Reform of Section 230 of the Communications Act to Congress Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 is suddenly in the headlines after President Trump tweeted a call for its repeal last week when one of his tweets was flagged by the social media site as providing misinformation about COVID-19. … Continued

CFAnews Update – September 29, 2020

Proposed Federal Banking Rule Would Unleash Predatory Lending In All 50 States The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has proposed a new rule that would encourage the spread of predatory loans by gutting the “true lender” doctrine that courts use to detect usury evasions, according to experts. In response, CFA joined with … Continued

CFAnews Update – August 26, 2020

Car Insurers Still Overcharging Consumers During Pandemic With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, and claims remaining up to 50% below normal levels, CFA and Center for Economic Justice (CEJ) have called on insurers and insurance regulators to continue to provide ongoing auto premium relief. Having monitored crash data since March, the groups continue to find … Continued

CFAnews Update – August 20, 2020

AGs Challenge Rule Enabling Evasion of State Interest Rate Caps Attorneys General of California, New York, and Illinois challenged a new final rule from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) that encourages non-bank lenders to launder loans through banks so they can charge triple-digit interest rates. They argue that the OCC rule … Continued

Brokers and Insurers Cry Foul Over DOL Advice Rule

By: Barbara Roper, CFA Director of Investor Protection Last week, the comment period closed on the Department of Labor’s proposed advice rule, which was strongly opposed by groups representing workers, retirees, and investors concerned that it decreases the likelihood financial professionals will be held to a fiduciary standard when providing retirement investment advice and dramatically weakens the standard when it does … Continued

What Now?

By: Amina Abdu, Antitrust Advocacy Associate, Consumer Federation of America Last week, the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee as a part of the committee’s ongoing investigation into competition in the digital marketplace. The biggest takeaway from this hearing was a turning of the tides away … Continued

Take Control of the Call to Avoid Scams and Abuse

This year’s CFA survey of complaints to state and local consumer agencies revealed lots of interesting information about unfair and deceptive practices that harm consumers. One thing in particular that jumped out at me was how some scammers, and even some “legitimate” businesses, try to control consumers and make them do their bidding by not … Continued

CFAnews Update – July 24, 2020

Federal Regulators Weaken Payday Loan Rules As Americans struggle to cope with the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) took steps to weaken critically important consumer protections from high-cost, payday loans. The CFPB issued a new final payday loan rule earlier … Continued

CFAnews Update – July 16, 2020

Supreme Court Weakens the Independence of the CFPB Consumers were dealt a major blow late last month, but one that could have been a lot worse, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision weakening the independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In a 5-4 decision in Seila Law LLC v The Consumer … Continued