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
The Mylan-Teva merger is a healthcare disaster for consumers
A proposed merger of the two largest U.S. generic drug makers drew opposition from seven consumer groups. Advocates asked antitrust enforcers at the Federal Trade Commission to stop Teva Pharmaceutical Industries proposal to purchase Mylan, saying it would lead to higher prices for consumers and more drug shortages.
Recalled vehicles should not be rented to consumers
Those who frequently drive rental cars should feel more secure behind the wheel. Senator Claire McCaskill introduced an amendment that will force rental companies to perform recalls on their vehicles before they can be driven by consumers. An earlier GOP proposal would have allowed unsafe, potentially dangerous vehicles to remain in service or sold as long as the customer was warned of the recall.
Loan servicing standards need to improve for students and families
In response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) request for information, consumer advocates brought to light issues commonly found within the student loan servicing industry. Wide-spread problems relating to miscommunication, payment processing errors, dispute resolution and servicer transfers are a few areas the advocates asked the CFPB to address.
It’s time to end predatory college-bank partnerships
The Department of Education’s proposed changes to "Cash Management" rules governing student financial-aid disbursements are a strong step towards curbing the misuse of the federal student-aid system — specifically college-bank partnerships that aggressively market to students and steer them into high-fee bank accounts.
Keep the “consumer watchdog” independent of partisan politics
The House Appropriations Committee is reviewing a provision in the “Financial Services and General Government” appropriations bill that would bring funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the annual congressional appropriations process, instead of continuing to fund the agency directly from the Federal Reserve. This means partisan politics stands to restrict the CFPB’s regulatory authority by holding its purse strings and requiring the agency submit unnecessary reporting.
Bringing Lifeline into the Digital Age
The federal low-income assistance program for affordable voice service, Lifeline, is on the verge of a “reboot” to provide affordable broadband service to bring it into the 21st Century. Modernizing the program is essential for thousands of low-income households that may fall further behind without access. Lifeline is a federally funded program that helps low-income households afford essential communication service and it is the last of the four Universal Service Programs to move to broadband access.
Protecting borrowers, not banks, from risky loans
Coalition advocates wrote to Congress asking them to oppose H.R. 1210. The bill would change the new Qualified Mortgage rules in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s Ability-to-Repay requirement. Lenders should make a good-faith effort to determine a borrower’s ability to repay a mortgage before extending them a loan. Instead, H.R. 1210 contains an unnecessary exemption that puts all the risk on the borrower and protects the lenders from legal responsibility.
Defenseless whistleblowers forced to risk it all
Congress should quickly restore whistleblower rights for government contractors who work in the intelligence community (IC). In addition to facing the threat of being criminally prosecuted, IC contractors currently have no statutory protection against employer retribution, including terminations, demotions or blacklisting, when they expose government misconduct in an attempt to further public interest.
ED can do more to prevent widespread fraud
In light of the recent bankruptcy of Corinthian Colleges, and its subsequent campus shutdowns, coalition advocates urge the Education Department to develop a proactive strategy that would prevent for-profit schools that are under investigation for predatory practices from receiving federal aid and further defrauding students.
Protecting children from a common household item
Consumer advocates argue that it's time for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to regulate window blinds. They contend that the window covering industry’s current system of self-regulation is deeply inadequate and while the standard has been revised multiple times over the past two decades, it remains ineffective.
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