A Message from Consumer Action

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Coalition Efforts

Consumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see “More Information” at the end of each article.

 

Postings

The CFPB must protect consumers from fraud in payment systems
Consumer Action was one of the 65 consumer, civil rights, faith, legal services and community groups that submitted comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in response to its inquiry into certain business practices of six large technology companies operating payments systems in the United States. The groups urged the CFPB to require person-to-person (P2P) payment providers to protect consumers from fraud and errors and to work with the Federal Reserve Board to ensure protections are in place before the Fed launches its new FedNow P2P service.

Biden should remove FDIC Chair for refusing to follow the law
Twenty-two organizations called on President Joe Biden to remove Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chair Jelena McWilliams for violating the agency’s statutes and bylaws that provide for majority rule. McWilliams has refused to allow publication in the Federal Register of a request authorized by three of the four board members for public input on the FDIC’s bank merger policy, proving that she is not fit to serve as Chair.

Feds should halt bank mergers until guidelines are strengthened
The federal authorities should halt all bank merger approvals until they strengthen the outdated guidelines that govern whether financial institutions can combine, according to a letter delivered by 30 public interest organizations. Advocates outlined the harmful effects—including more evictions, increasing rates of debts in collection, and fewer loans supporting economic development—that bank consolidation has had on consumers and small businesses, especially in communities of color.

The FCC and FTC can do more to protect consumers’ location data
Consumer Action joined privacy experts and consumer rights advocates in endorsing a letter from Rep. Katie Porter, Rep. Jamie Raskin, and 42 other House members who are calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish stronger rules governing the collection and sale of consumers’ location data. The letter also asks the FCC to reaffirm that location data collected by mobile phone carriers is subject to privacy safeguards, including when a user’s phone is idle.

As the pandemic continues, the Build Back Better Act aims to provide critical assistance to American families
Consumer Action joined over 200 national, state and community organizations in thanking the House of Representatives for the momentous gains made in the Build Back Better Act, reinforcing the need to keep the package intact as it makes its way through the Senate, and urging swift passage onto signature by President Biden. By passing the historic Build Back Better bill, Congress is tackling some of the most important problems families face, by accomplishing things such as cutting taxes for working and middle class families, supporting child and elder care, making college more affordable, providing job training, and making the largest investment in battling climate change in our nation’s history.

The FAIR Fees Act to curb outrageous airline fees
Consumer Action joined other consumer advocates and air traveler rights groups in applauding the introduction of the FAIR Fees Act as a way to protect consumers from being nickel-and-dimed by airlines. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Congressmen Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL) reintroduced the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act—legislation that would prohibit airlines from charging fees, including cancellation, change and bag fees, that are not reasonable and proportional to the costs of the services actually provided. The bill also directs the Department of Transportation to review any other fees charged by airlines.

Advocates ask the CFPB to bring back public consumer complaint narratives
Dozens of consumer, civil rights, community, housing and privacy groups urged the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Rohit Chopra, to stop burying the complaint details (called narratives) in the agency’s consumer complaint database. Under its Trump-appointed director, Kathy Kraninger, the CFPB made it more difficult for consumers to access the most useful portion of the complaints. Burying the complaint narratives was one of many big gifts Kraninger gave to financial firms that long fought public display of the consumer-provided descriptions that reveal the unfair practices companies would rather keep hidden.

Boosting the FTC’s oversight ability through the Build Back Better Act
Consumer Action and 34 civil rights, civil liberties and consumer protection organizations joined in urging Congress to pass key provisions of the Build Back Better Act that will strengthen the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) power to halt discriminatory and abusive data practices. The bill provides $1 billion in funding for the Commission’s privacy and antitrust work and establishes an FTC bureau to address privacy, civil rights and data security issues.

The FHFA has a new goal in promoting equity in homeownership
Long-standing discriminatory policies and practices in the credit and housing markets have resulted in significant racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership and the accumulation of wealth. Coalition advocates submitted comments to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on policies that promote equity and expand opportunity for low-income borrowers. The FHFA should require Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to remove barriers and advance equity in housing markets to better serve the needs of all consumers, especially those in underserved populations.

Americans need drug pricing reform now
Consumer Action joined more than 60 national, state and local groups in urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to resist demands from some caucus members seeking to weaken the Medicare drug price negotiation policies in the Build Back Better Act. The bill aims to lower drug prices for millions of Americans by allowing Medicare to negotiate certain drug prices, penalizing drug companies that increase their prices faster than inflation, and adding an out-of-pocket cap to Medicare Part D. Advocates warn that weakening this popular policy would allow Big Pharma to continue to gouge Americans and profit from exorbitantly high drug prices.

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