Updated: January 2013

A lifeline for non-profit consumer education & advocacy

Cy pres grants are carved out of residual damages from class action lawsuits when full restitution to all victims is not possible. The grants are distributed to selected nonprofit community-based organizations most likely to serve and protect the plaintiff class.

In cases where the plaintiffs are victims of deceptive or predatory business practices in the areas of credit, banking, privacy, insurance, healthcare, and utilities, Consumer Action has been selected by plaintiff and defense attorneys, courts, and grant-making organizations to receive cy pres funds.

Because cy pres grants carry few, if any, restrictions on their use, ongoing funding from this source is crucial to Consumer Action’s continued efforts on behalf of U.S. consumers. With it, the organization is able react quickly when an opportunity arises to investigate, document and publicize abuses. The grants also allow us to pursue vital consumer education and protection projects that are not funded through project-specific grants.

With a long and successful record of consumer education, advocacy and research, Consumer Action is qualified to achieve the consumer protection goals of the court.

  • Consumer Action’s nationwide network of more than 10,000 community-based organizations enables us to reach millions of consumers—in their own languages, in their own communities.
  • Low overhead and efficient administration of funds means more of every cy pres award received is used to achieve the goals of the court.
  • Free education and assistance is delivered efficiently in a variety of formats—in person, by phone, in print, electronically, and via the media.
  • Attorneys have cited Consumer Action’s original research on services and pricing across a broad range of industries to support their arguments in individual and class action lawsuits. Our annual credit card survey uncovers individual instances of abuse and trends in anti-consumer business practices in the credit industry.
  • Consumer Action’s one-of-a-kind complaint-handling database—supported in main part by cy pres grants—provides the means to identify consumers willing to talk to the media, legislators and the legal community. Our complaint-handling staff assists consumers in Chinese, English and Spanish.
  • In Washington, DC, Consumer Action works closely in coalition with other important national groups, themselves recipients of class action residuals. This coordination means that the resulting value of cy pres grants is working even harder to achieve federal protections and stronger rights of action for consumers.

Consumer Action is appreciative of the honor that courts and plaintiff and defense attorneys have shown in selecting the organization for cy pres awards.

If you would like to know more about how Consumer Action has used its cy pres awards, please contact Executive Director Ken McEldowney by phone (415-777-9648) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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