Updated: February 2013

2008-2009 Accomplishments

In 2008-2009, Consumer Action made a positive and tangible difference in the lives of consumers all across the country.

Here’s a snapshot of some of our successes in the last year:

Helping people stay in their homes

With homeowners left holding the bag while legislators tried to figure out what to do, Consumer Action jumped in to help people facing foreclosure, educating them on how to use new mortgage modification programs and fighting in Washington for the crucial right to modify a home loan with a bankruptcy court judge's approval. Our free national hotline handled a 371% increase in calls related to mortgages.

Giving credit cardholders back their rights

Through ongoing advocacy and persistence, Consumer Action helped to pass the historic Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008 in the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority. And through our “Take Action” email alerts, we’ve mobilized consumers to send nearly 3,000 emails to Congress this year in support of key House and Senate credit card reform bills.

Community train-the-trainer events

Our experienced outreach team trained 677 staff members in community-based organizations across the country using our award-winning financial literacy, privacy, fraud and credit card curricula, with in-depth detail on managing credit card and other debt. Consumer Action’s hotline received its largest number of complaints ever regarding credit cards and unreasonable fees.

Fighting for fair banking laws

When you overdraw your account, most banks unfairly impose high cost loans that are automatically charged to your account. These loans are called automatic overdraft protection. Together with legislators and federal regulators, Consumer Action worked to change the law to make it your choice to enroll in this program, not the bank’s. Consumer Action also presented live webinars to more than 300 community-based organizations in over 30 states to help them educate consumers on personal banking services and money management.

Protecting you from fraud

At a time when so many are seeking financial help, Consumer Action has made it a priority to educate and warn consumers about the latest scams and fraud, both online and offline, such as foreclosure prevention scams, fake check fraud, work at home schemes and government stimulus money scams.

Advocating for real, long-term change

Working to help improve the regulatory system that oversees banks and financial companies, Consumer Action has actively championed the Financial Products Safety Commission, whose primary job would be to protect consumers. We’re doing our part to make sure consumers are protected no matter who is looking out for them in DC: in 2008 we distributed 1.2 million publications to consumers, giving them the tools they need to protect their rights and their pocketbooks.

Making privacy practical and easy

Privacy is not just a basic right; it has become a basic necessity for consumers. This year, Consumer Action provided critical small grants to 15 California community-based organizations to help them provide practical, privacy-related education and information to their communities, such as how to place a security freeze on a credit file. Consumer Action is also at the forefront in Washington in the fight to protect consumer health information online, pressuring Congress and the Administration to include strong, easy-to-understand privacy provisions in Health IT legislation and to have strong regulatory oversight on the issue.

Keeping our roads safe

Consumer Action has led the charge in forcing the government to implement rules for a national database of rebuilt wrecks, called the NMVTIS. This database will provide consumers with the information they need to make informed financial and safety decisions about their cars.

 

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