Postings

Bill would damage credit scores of million of consumers
Consumer Action joined the National Consumer Law Center and other organizations in opposition to HR 435—legislation that 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.

Unnecessary FCC rule continues to threaten consumers’ privacy
Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in urging the Federal Communications Commission to repeal a rule that requires phone companies to retain the detailed call records of their customers, saying it’s unnecessary and threatens consumer privacy. The rule, known as the data retention mandate, is unduly burdensome and ineffectual and poses a threat to American consumers’ privacy and security.

Monitoring availability and affordability of auto insurance requires key data
Consumer advocates have long argued that low-income drivers are price-gouged when it comes to car insurance quotes. In response, the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) set a standard that recognizes auto insurance as “unaffordable” when the average premium in a community exceeds two percent of the community's median household income. The FIO is also preparing to publish its first report on auto insurance affordability with help from the insurance industry. Advocates are urging the FIO to require mandatory participation from some of the biggest insurance companies, instead of relying on the companies’ voluntary submission of data. The group also asks the office to evaluate premiums at the zip code level to ensure the affordability analysis accurately represents the cost of insurance around the nation.

Proposed bill would damage credit scores of millions
Consumer Action joined consumer and civil rights advocacy groups in expressing their opposition to The Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2016 (H.R. 4172). Proponents of the bill argue it helps those with little or no credit build their credit scores by allowing utility and telecom companies to repot their customers’ on-time payments to credit-reporting agencies. However, this proposed legislation will preempt existing state and local privacy protections that prevent companies from sharing a customer’s financial information without their consent. It would also create a negative credit score for “thin file” or “no file” consumers–consumers who are disproportionately from low-income and moderate-income African American communities. For areas like employment and insurance–where a negative credit report or low score could harm job prospects or increase rates–it is often better to have no credit history.

A strong FCC preserves net neutrality
Consumer Action joined other consumer rights and privacy advocates in sending a letter to House of Representatives leadership expressing opposition to H.R. 2666, the “No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act.” This bill would strip the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of authority to review certain practices of broadband providers related to their customers’ privacy. Despite its name, the bill has much less to do with preventing the FCC from setting rates for broadband service than with preventing the FCC from investigating practices that may undermine the open Internet rules.

“Full file” reports undermine existing protections and harm consumers credit
Consumer advocates wrote Congress in opposition of H.R. 3035, the Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2015. This legislation, if enacted, would preempt state utility regulatory and legislative authority, risk damaging the credit scores of millions of low-income consumers and conflict with long-standing state utility regulatory consumer protections.

Bringing Lifeline into the Digital Age
The federal low-income assistance program for affordable voice service, Lifeline, is on the verge of a “reboot” to provide affordable broadband service to bring it into the 21st Century. Modernizing the program is essential for thousands of low-income households that may fall further behind without access. Lifeline is a federally funded program that helps low-income households afford essential communication service and it is the last of the four Universal Service Programs to move to broadband access.

Promoting competition with cable companies
As technology continually improves the way consumers enjoy television and media, it is important to ensure consumers have a choice when it comes to the hardware they utilize. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) should promote the creation of third-party devices that are just as compatible with consumers' cable systems as cable-supplied devices.

Stringent telecom carrier safeguards needed to protect consumer privacy
The Communications Act allows the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect the sharing of consumers' telecom data without consumers' explicit consent. The telecom industry would like the FCC to leave it up to carriers to interpret and implement these protections. In comments to the FCC, Consumer Action and privacy advocates urge the federal agency to protect telecom customers' private information - establishing contractual protections for shared private information is not the same thing as getting customers' consent to share their data.

Bill would drive up cable prices and reduce consumers’ choice
H.R. 3196 would greatly reduce the FCC’s ability to protect consumers, promote competition and spur innovation in the video device market.

Quick Menu

Support Consumer Action

Support Consumer
Facebook FTwitter T

Consumer Help Desk

Advocacy