Financial Reform

As passengers swelter through a summer of airline delays and cancellations, the U.S. Department of Transportation asked U.S. PIRG to present on whether requiring airlines to provide more information earlier in the search process would increase consumer choice and further the recommendations of the President's Executive Order on Competition.  

Screenshot from slide deck features 1929 "Offical Airline Guide." Public domain courtesy Smithsonian Institution via archive.org.

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Bank, Credit Union and Consumer Groups Applaud Vote to Close ILC Loophole

A "strange  bedfellows" coalition of bank and credit union trade associations and consumer groups applauded committee passage of a bipartisan bill to deny Big Tech firms from circumventing existing rules to enter the banking system. The “Close the ILC Loophole Act” (H.R. 5912) preserves the longstanding separation of banking and commerce. 

UPDATE: More on alleged Zelle app fraud in NYTimes

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

The NYTimes reports that "When Customers Say Their Money Was Stolen on Zelle, Banks Often Refuse to Pay." We did a report last year on consumer complaints about Zelle and similar apps.

UPDATE: Apple Launches BNPL Product: Apple Pay Later

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Apple is joining the parade of competitors in the more and more crowded "Buy Now, Pay Later" space, with its version of "pay in four," called Apple Pay Later.

FTC consumer chief calls industry's false privacy choices "coercion"

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Wow. The FTC's consumer chief gave a powerful speech this week that essentially said "privacy notice and choice" are not enough in a surveillance-based economy. "When we’re expecting consumers to have to choose between participating in the digital economy and protecting their privacy, we’re not giving them a choice at all – what we’re really describing is coercion."

Cover image by g4||4is "Privacy. The "i" is a lock" via Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Senate Commerce to vote to restore FTC power to compensate victims of corporate wrongdoers

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Last year, the Supreme Court eliminated the FTC's key authority to disgorge ill-gotten gains from corporate wrongdoers and use the money to compensate their victims. It was an unfortunate decision that benefited a convicted payday lender who fleeced thousands of victims and will allow brand name Big Pharma firms that block lower-cost generic competitors and other wrongdoers to escape billions of dollars in restitution. The Senate Commerce Committee is voting tomorrow on a bill to restore FTC powers.

-- Cover graphic of FTC Building via Flickr, by Boston Public Library, Some rights reserved.

Merchants pay swipe fees to accept credit and debit cards and are forced by card network rules to pass the costs on to all consumers, including cash customers, with higher prices at the store and at the pump. As I told the Senate, the big banks are happy with inflation -- when gas prices double, their percentage-based swipe fee revenue doubles – without the banks making anything or doing anything.”

Cover photo: whyframes studio via iStock

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Banks, Credit Unions and Consumer Groups Call for Passage of Bipartisan Solution to Close ILC Loophole

U.S. PIRG joined leading consumer and bank trade groups to urge Congress to enact the bi-partisan HR5912, to close the Industrial Loan Company (ILC) loophole that threatens the banking system.

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

STATEMENT: U.S. PIRG applauds SEC’s climate disclosure rule

Our statement on the Securities and Exchange Commission's newly proposed rule that would require publicly traded companies to improve and standardize the information they disclose about their greenhouse gas emissions.

Will buy now, pay later mean pain later?

By | Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

In a new report, we question whether “Buy Now Pay Later” plans make “no fees or interest!” claims that may not be true. We find that you might be billed for canceled or backordered items, but neither the merchant nor the BNPL provider may take responsibility. You can file a comment in the CFPB’s BNPL inquiry until March 25th. Get our BNPL tips.

Cover image: Courtesy iStock by B4LL, used under license

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