Postings

The next COVID-19 relief package should include these critical consumer protections
Millions of people and small businesses in the United States are experiencing tremendous financial distress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment is skyrocketing and families are struggling to put food on the table. Congress and the administration need to enact broad-based, efficient, and effective relief that goes far beyond the CARES Act to protect people’s homes, cars, bank accounts, income, and benefits so that they can weather this crisis. Consumer Action joined nearly 100 consumer, civil rights, community and other public interest groups weigh in on recommendations for Congress' next stimulus package.

Advocates call foul as CFPB hides consumer complaint narratives from public view
Consumer Action joined nearly three dozen consumer, civil rights, community, housing, and privacy groups in urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to reconsider its decision to bury the narratives of consumer complaints, making it much harder for non-experts to find this essential material in its consumer complaint database. Access to the complaint narratives helps to educate and empower consumers to make wise financial decisions and meets the Bureau’s mandate to inform and protect consumers. Public access to this critical information also helps to hold companies accountable for their behavior in the financial marketplace.

Congress: Pass a clean budget for FY2021
Advocates called on Congress to pass an upcoming federal budget that funds the things that Americans care about, not undo essential consumer and environmental safeguards through policy riders. Policy riders are attached to legislation and rarely have anything to do with the bill. In fact, most riders are handouts to big corporations and special favors for interest groups that could not become law on their own merits. As Congress prepares the federal budget for fiscal year 2021, no appropriations titles, package of bills, or continuing resolutions should pass if they contain poison pill policy riders that go against the public interest, including policies that ensure safe and healthy food, restrain Wall Street abuses, provide access to justice and fair housing, and guarantee access to safe healthcare.

New credit report portal would make resolving errors easier for consumers
Advocates wrote to Congress in support of the Protecting Your Credit Score Act of 2019 (H.R. 5332). The bipartisan bill directs the three credit reporting bureaus to work together to create one online portal to provide free and unlimited access to credit reports and scores, the ability to more easily initiate and resolve disputes with a credit bureau and to provide access to see who the bureaus have sold consumer data to in the prior two years. One of the biggest issues facing low-income communities is access to credit. In many cases, inaccurate credit information limits low-income individuals from accessing affordable loan products. This can lead to borrowing from high-cost pay-day lenders, or using high-rate credit facilities. This bill places the burden of resolving inaccurate credit information on the bureaus, instead of on the consumer.

Advocates applaud the Fed’s faster payments system, but urge fraud protection
Consumer and privacy advocates applauded the announcement by the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) that it will develop a real-time payment system, while urging the Fed to ensure protection against scammers and criminals who use faster payment systems to receive and move money.

New proposed rule empowers debt collects and their attorneys
In an effort to update the rule that governs debt collectors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a proposed rule that would make debt collector harassment worse for consumers.

Overhauling the nation’s broken credit reporting system
Democratic members of the Financial Services Committee are calling upon Congress to enact legislation to reform the credit reporting system, enhance consumers’ credit reporting rights, create more transparency over the consumer reporting and credit scoring process, and increase the accountability of those who develop credit scoring models.

How the government shutdown puts working families at risk
As the longest federal government shutdown in our nation’s history drags on, advocates raised concern as to how working families could potentially be harmed long after the government reopens its doors. Without a paycheck, federal employees fear losing their homes, consider risky financial loans in lieu of income, tax credits and refunds, and worry about the lasting impact that missed bill payments will have on their credit.

More could be done by the CFPB to stop harassment from debt collectors
Nearly 75 advocate groups joined together in urging the new CFPB director, Kathy Kraninger, to implement stronger rules that protect the 71 million adults in the United States with debt from abusive and harassing debt collection practices.

Trump wants to use credit scores to keep immigrants out of the country
The Department of Homeland Security has issued a terrible proposal that intends to use immigrants’ personal credit information as part of the assessment to qualify for a green card or visa. Using an irrelevant, often error-prone, measure like a credit score to assign immigration status is not only absurd, it misuses credit information, and places financial stress and economic harm on families.

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