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

California legislators urged to make significant investments in public broadband
Consumer Action joined advocates in urging California legislators to support the state bill "Broadband for All" (SB 4), which enables local governments to make a massive billion-dollar investment in public infrastructure by unlocking the bond market for local communities. The pandemic has highlighted the dire need to move quickly on providing broadband access, especially to underserved and underinvested communities. With one in eight families in California disconnected, and nearly one million school-aged children with no internet connection, the lack of access is creating additional hardships during a time when connectivity is more essential than ever.

It’s critical that the CFPB uphold strong lending protections for all consumers
Advocates joined together in submitting comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). Under the ECOA it is illegal to discriminate against a borrower “on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status or age in credit transactions.” This critical measure protects consumers from discrimination and provides access to safe and responsible credit products on fair terms. Advocates urged the Bureau to take no action that would weaken this critical regulatory measure so that all consumers and communities are protected from discrimination in the lending industry.

Protect limited-English speakers from harmful debt collection practices
A coalition of consumer, civil and human rights, labor, community and legal services organizations wrote to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to voice concerns with the Bureau’s approach to consumers with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) in the recently finalized Debt Collection Practices (Regulation F) rule. There are many misconceptions about debt collection laws that are heightened by language barriers, leaving LEP consumers vulnerable to harassment and exploitation. Providing enhanced language access is essential to protect LEP consumers and provides the CFPB with the ability to enforce critical consumer rights.

Advocates urge the Biden administration to reject Big Tech appointments to his cabinet
In a letter to President-elect Biden, consumer and privacy advocates urged the President-elect to avoid appointing representatives from tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google to his cabinet. These companies represent serious threats to privacy, democracy, innovation and to Americans’ economic well-being. Advocates warned that representatives from these companies should not hold positions of power within our government. Instead, advocates urged Biden to assemble a team of advocates that will represent working Americans and not the Big Tech companies that work to exploit them.

Studies show systemic racism in insurance industry
Consumer Action joined a coalition of consumer and community activists in submitting comments to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Special Committee on Race and Insurance urging them to focus efforts on creating tools to help states and insurers identify and combat systemic racism in insurance. Studies over many years have shown elements of racism in pricing, placement of agents, redlining and other aspects of insurance. But systemic racism is not found in just a few elements of insurance; it casts its shadow across all aspects of insurance and needs to be confronted in a systematic and holistic manner.

Allies urge CFPB Director not to weaken its enforcement arm
A coalition of more than 80 consumer and civil rights groups urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger to "abandon" her "October Surprise" proposed reorganization. Instead of strengthening the arm of the CFPB that holds predatory financial institutions accountable, the proposal would drastically weaken its authority, independence, and ultimately, effectiveness, leaving consumers vulnerable and defenseless during an already financially stressful time.

Student advocates urge DeVos to extend loan suspension
Over 70 community, civil rights, consumer, and student advocacy organizations urged U.S. Education Secretary DeVos to extend the suspension of payments on federal student loans through September 2021. The current suspension on federal student loans is set to expire on December 31, 2020. If the Education Department doesn’t extend the current suspension, borrowers will find it harder than ever to make ends meet as they are thrown back into repayment or forced collections while the economy continues to suffer.

Privacy advocates urge U.S. FCC to protect privacy during pandemic
Consumer Action joined in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to uphold privacy protections during the pandemic. The agency is attempting to remove the Customer Proprietary Network Information certification requirement, which is the easiest and most straightforward way to hold wireless and telephone companies accountable for violating their customers’ privacy. The COVID-19 crisis has made telecom privacy protections even more essential as people are more reliant than ever on their phones. It would be highly inappropriate for the FCC to eliminate or weaken these valuable protections during the pandemic.

ED must stop funding fraudulent and predatory for-profit colleges
Consumer, student and veteran advocates wrote to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to ask her to withhold federal funding from schools managed by the Center for Excellence in Higher Education after a Colorado state district court judge ruled that numerous schools managed by the organization had lied to prospective students about graduates’ earnings, job placement opportunities and loan repayment options. Advocates noted that the Higher Education Act bars institutions from receiving federal student aid funding if it “has been judicially determined to have committed fraud.”

The Department of Transportation fails to address consumers’ pandemic concerns
In a letter sent to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao, consumer groups expressed their deep frustration that the Department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee is ignoring the most pressing airline passenger complaints and concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter notes that many Americans are concerned about the risk of contracting the coronavirus while flying, and that a record 50,000 consumers filed complaints with the DOT about the airlines’ refusal to provide refunds for canceled flights during the crisis. Neither topic was addressed at the most recent Committee meeting, which was only the second such meeting since the Committee was reconstituted in the fall of 2018.

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