Postings

A major victory for cheated students on borrower defense regulations
A federal judge sided with consumer advocates and ruled that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' delay of a key student borrower protection rule was improper and unlawful. Judge Moss also rejected a request to postpone enforcement of the Borrower Defense Rule by an association of for-profit colleges. This meant the 2016 Obama-era regulation aimed at providing relief for scammed student-loan borrowers took effect immediately, despite efforts by the Department of Education and the for-profit college industry to delay it.

Consumer advocates oppose loosening rules for Fintech providers
Consumer Action joined a coalition of 50 public interest groups in sharply criticizing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposal to gut important consumer protection rules, especially for fintech companies, arguing the agency does not have the authority to create potentially unlimited exemptions from the very regulations that the CFPB is obligated to enforce.

The FCC can do more to stop annoying, and illegal, robocalls
Nearly a year ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved rules to allow phone companies to block specific categories of clearly illegally spoofed calls. However, no visible progress has been made to actually reduce the volume of unwanted calls. A lack of law enforcement recourse around illegal robocalls has prompted consumer advocates to ask the FCC to do more.

ED’s latest regulatory rollback favors scam schools over students and taxpayers
Consumer Action joined more than 60 organizations and advocates in submitting joint comments on the U.S. Department of Education's proposal to eliminate the gainful employment rule that protects students and taxpayers from spending money on career education programs that do not prepare students for gainful employment as required under federal law. The coalition urged the Department to abandon their proposal to eliminate the existing rule and instead start properly enforcing the current rule.

Senate should reject Kraninger for CFPB Director
Eighty civil rights and consumers groups wrote to Congress, urging a “no” vote on the nomination of Kathy Kraninger to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Kraninger has no record of protecting consumers or standing up to powerful Wall Street special interests—key traits we all want in America’s chief consumer advocate. Americans deserve a consumer champion at the CFPB, not someone will continue Mick Mulvaney’s anti-consumer agenda.

“License to Kill” bills in New Jersey are as terrifying for consumers as they sound
S 2740 and A 4292, dubbed the “License to Kill” bills, would make regulating auto industries in the state of New Jersey, and protecting the safety of New Jersey consumers, much more difficult. Backed by unscrupulous auto dealers, the bills would drastically weaken the existing laws in the state that protect consumers from being defrauded and purchasing unsafe vehicles.

The CFPB’s consumer education programs must be protected
In open comments to the agency, advocates urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to keep its education programs, just one component in its set of consumer protection tools. Other Bureau responsibilities, including its enforcement and rulemaking authority, should also be utilized to fully protect consumers in accordance with the CFPB’s mission.

Keep for-profit school dollars out of the VA
An ethics law that prohibits Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees from receiving money or owning a stake in for-profit colleges that rake in millions in G.I. Bill tuition has "illogical and unintended consequences," according to VA, which is pushing to suspend the 50-year-old statute for some of its employees. Consumer Action joined the coalition in urging the VA to abandon this plan. Suspending the law would make it easier for the for-profit education industry to exploit its biggest cash cow: veterans.

PROSPER Act puts for-profit schools’ interests ahead of students and taxpayers
In a Feb. 23 letter to Congress, Consumer Action and its allies working for fairness for student borrowers reiterated support for higher-education safeguards, including the gainful employment rule to ensure for-profit schools actually prepare students for real jobs; the borrower defense rule to protect student borrowers when their schools go bust; the 90-10 rule limiting the number of students using the GI Bill at specific schools; and the ban on incentive compensation, commissions for-profit school recruiters who often cross ethical lines when signing up students. These four commonsense regulatory measures—which Consumer Action supports and has written much about—should be present in any bill that targets higher education in the future. However, the groups note in their letter that the PROSPER Act (HR 4508) seeks to weaken or gut these protections, leaving students and taxpayers susceptible to for-profit school fraud.

Consumer advocates keep the heat on multi-level marketing
In 2016, following the FTC's settlement with direct seller Herballife, the commission said it intended to provide additional guidance to the direct selling industry. In anticipation of that guidance, consumer advocates outlined some sound principles that would govern the multilevel marketing industry.

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