Consumer Protection

CFA Redoubles Our Commitment to Eliminating Marketplace Discrimination in America

Statement of Jack Gillis, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of America

Washington, D.C. – “The Consumer Federation of America acknowledges the pain, suffering, and outrage that has rippled across our country in response to the brutal murder of George Floyd.  This appalling incident has opened the wounds that too many Americans feel as a result of systemic discrimination that has gone on for too long.  This tragic event, and the equally outrageous deaths that have preceded the death of Mr. Floyd, is a poignant reminder to the Consumer Federation and its 250 national, state and local organizations, that there is an acute need to redouble our efforts to uncover and expose the discrimination that has been both painful and costly for far too many Americans.

While the public focus is rightfully on the racially motivated death of George Floyd, this is also a call for CFA, with its organizational focus on consumer issues, to redouble its efforts to stamp out the rampant discrimination in the marketplace.  It comes in the form of redlining in the housing, financial and insurance sectors, hidden behind algorithms and whitewashed proxies for race and ethnicity; auto loans priced according to the color of one’s skin; denying services due to sexual orientation; underpaying women; finding that “nothing is for sale” in certain neighborhoods; and, paying more for goods and services because of where you live.  These injustices have become institutionalized discrimination, and they must stop.  Such discrimination is a costly and unfair economic burden for too many and it creates the disillusionment, division, resentment, fear, and anger that comes when injustice is the norm.

While the Consumer Federation of America has fought for consumer justice for over 50 years, the need for our work has never been greater.  We, and our 250 member organizations, must significantly increase our efforts to protect the American public from unfair, costly, and crushing discrimination in our markets.  We are committed to exposing discriminatory practices in every market segment and ensuring that policymakers use that information to eliminate these practices.  They have existed for far too long.  Our goal: a marketplace free from discrimination and accessible to all.  We will use our expertise and passion for consumer rights, to ensure that policymakers and corporations change the systemic economic discrimination that unfairly burdens so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the nation.  Americans should expect no less from the Consumer Federation of America and the tens of millions of citizens that its members represent.”