Postings

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.

Consumers deserve more control over their credit reports
Consumer, civil rights and advocacy groups wrote to members of Congress to express opposition to the Credit Access and Inclusion Act (HR 435). This legislation, if enacted, would reduce consumers’ control over their own data by preempting state and federal privacy protections, damage the credit scores of millions of consumers with a disproportionate impact on African Americans, and conflict with long-standing state utility regulatory consumer protections.

Advocates call on Congress do more for victims of Equifax breach
The Equifax data breach is prompting advocates to call on Congress for better protection of consumers' sensitive financial information. Not only should free credit freeze legislation be implemented immediately, but Congress should also resist the financial and banking industries attempts to pass legislation that preempts stronger state laws in matters that relate to consumers’ data security and privacy.

Wells Fargo has some (more) explaining to do
As widespread, deceitful business practices at Wells Fargo continue to come to light, and knowing that Wells Fargo most likely withheld information related to an estimated 800,000 cases of fraudulent auto insurance sales practices during its last Congressional hearing, advocate groups are urging the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee to hold more hearings regarding the bank’s fraudulent activity.

Fiduciary rule should extend to non-retirement accounts too
The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule requires anyone providing investment advice regarding retirement accounts to avoid recommendations that create conflicts of interest. But why isn’t the rule applied to non-retirement investment accounts as well? In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, advocates press for broader protections for investors, including a best interest standard for all personalized investment recommendations.

Caller ID authentication provides protection against illegal and unwanted calls
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) acknowledges that consumers get an unacceptably high volume of calls that can annoy or defraud. One particularly disturbing category is spoofed robocalls where the caller ID is a fake, hiding the caller's true identity. Consumer advocates applaud the FCC’s rollout of proposed new rules that aim to stop spoof calls and believe implementing caller ID authentication will aid the agency's attempt to curb robocall scams.

Consumer groups call on House to oppose pyramid scheme promotion amendment
A broad coalition of consumer advocacy organizations is calling on the House of Representatives to oppose efforts to weaken the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to protect consumers from fraudulent pyramid schemes. An amendment offered by Congressman John Moolenaar (R-MI) was added to the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which would eliminate long-standing requirements that direct selling companies establish a viable retail business instead of relying on a churning base of new recruits.

Once again, Trump favors for-profit college industry over defrauded students
The Trump Administration’s decision to delay and dismantle key student and taxpayer protections against fraudulent for-profit schools is terrible news for struggling student borrowers and a boon for the for-profit college industry. Student, consumer, and veterans' organizations wrote to the Department of Education denouncing its decision to delay and weaken the borrower defense and gainful employment regulations because they protect both students and taxpayers from waste, fraud, and abuse.

The CFPB champions consumers over Wall Street once again!
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finalized a rule to prohibit banks and lenders that break the law from stripping customers of the right to join together and hold them accountable in class action lawsuits. Without the CFPB arbitration rule, bad actors like Wells Fargo will continue to pocket billions in stolen money and, in fact, gain a competitive edge in the marketplace by harming consumers.

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