Coalition EffortsConsumer 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.
Table of Contents
Against TSA’s unlawful screening of airline passengers
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a change to its screening process, requiring some travelers to go through body scanners even if the person asks to get a full-body pat-down instead. Currently, passengers undergoing screening can decline using the body scanners, known as Advanced Imaging Technologies in favor of full-body pat-downs by TSA agents. Under the new mandate, not everyone can opt for the pat-down procedure. Privacy advocates site grave privacy concerns over the update, arguing travelers within the United States are being subject to unlawful searches by the Transportation Security Administration.
“V.W. Bailout” bill is bad business for consumers
While the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency are suing Volkswagen for knowingly cheating on emission tests of its “clean” diesel vehicles, politicians in Washington D.C. are trying to pass a bill that would shield Volkswagen from class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of the nearly 500,000 customers who were defrauded by the company. H.R. 1927 not only prevents V.W. owners from seeking justice, but if passed, aims to cripple all class-action lawsuits against big corporations.
CEOs urged to stop using forced arbitration
Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in writing a letter to the CEOs of American Express, General Electric, JPMorgan Chase, Sears, Citigroup, Toyota and Discover Financial Services, asking them to stop putting forced arbitration clauses in their contracts because the practice is unfair and abusive. Combined, the corporations compel millions of American consumers to surrender their constitutional right to seek redress in the legal system after being victimized by unfair, deceptive or fraudulent corporate business practices.
Cars now safer to rent, thanks to mom-turned-advocate
A mother’s 11-year crusade resulted in President Barack Obama signing a bill that requires rental car companies to repair vehicles under safety recall orders before renting them to consumers. It is now illegal, under federal law, for a rental car company with a loaner or a rental car fleet of 35 vehicles or more, to rent, loan, or sell an unrepaired recalled rental or loaner car until the safety defects have been repaired.
Against changing the leadership structure of the CFPB
Powerful banks and Wall Street cronies in Congress escalated their campaign to defund and defang the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, because it works for consumers, not them. The American Bankers Association and other major trade groups representing Wall Street and other financial interests revealed they are the driving force behind intensified Congressional efforts to pass H.R. 1266 (Neugebauer-TX) – an effort to eliminate the Bureau's single director and replace him with a highly-politicized five-member Commission.
Best practices for identity theft services
Consumer Federation of America (CFA) released Best Practices for Identity Theft Services Version 2.0, updating the guidance that it originally issued in 2011 to encourage for-profit identity theft service providers to follow responsible practices. The revised copy addresses new trends and issues that have arisen in the identity theft service marketplace and strengthens some of the original provisions. With security breaches and identity theft cases so much in the news, it’s important for purchasers of these services to understand what they’re getting and for consumers to be treated fairly.
Lawmakers open the door for discrimination when buying a car
Consumer Action joined consumer advocates in opposing the Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act (H.R. 1737) which allows racially discriminatory car lending practices. If the bill passes, it could restore a system that routinely charges black and Latino borrowers hundreds of dollars more for car loans than similarly-qualified white borrowers.
Expanding debt collection protections to those who need it most
Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in supporting Senator Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) efforts to protect consumers by introducing the Stop Debt Collection Abuse Act of 2015 (S.2255). Booker’s bill is an important step on the road to limiting abusive debt collection of debts owed the federal government. Current state and local government debt collection practices (including taxes, fines and legal penalties) disproportionally burdens low-income communities and minority families. This bill seeks to protect consumers from these unfair practices.
U.S. agencies fail to meet privacy requirements of E.O. 13107
Consumers’ privacy rights are violated by mass surveillance conducted by the United States and other governments. It’s hard to challenge these abuses because most federal agencies have failed to follow a law that is supposed to make it easier for all people to file complaints about human rights violations. Consumer Action joined the Access Now coalition of human rights, privacy, and consumer protection organizations in denouncing the data collection and privacy breaches of government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Agency.
The highway bill turned into a dangerous road for consumers
A $325m transportation funding bill has been saddled with 260 amendments as legislators attempt to sneak their preferred provisions into law. The proposed Highway Trust Fund bill contains 181 amendments that are transportation related, while 88 of the amendments are non-transportation related and hazardous to consumers. Consumer advocates oppose several of the bill’s amendments that include efforts to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, deregulate large regional banks and outsource IRS debt collection to private collectors. All of these measures are substantive and deserve individual debate instead of being grouped in with unrelated legislation.
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