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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Credit freeze -- A free and fast way to help safeguard your finances | Grace Brombach

My first-hand, step-by-step guide to freezing your credit reports.

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A week's worth of help and tips during Consumer Protection Week

Being a consumer is a tough job. Really tough. During National Consumer Protection Week, which runs through March 6, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund staff is offering a daily dose of tips and advice to help you navigate life’s biggest consumer challenges.

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News Release | MASSPIRG

Study: CFPB complaints shattered records in 2020, exposing how the COVID-19 pandemic battered consumer finances

Consumer complaints about problems with financial companies such as banks, credit bureaus and debt collectors rose by more than 50 percent in 2020 and set new records for each month of the year, according to a new report from the MASSPIRG Education Fund. The report, Consumers In Peril, which analyzed complaints received by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), was released Monday to kick off National Consumer Protection Week.

 

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Consumers In Peril

A review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s public complaint database finds that consumer complaints about financial grievances spiked during the pandemic year of 2020, eclipsing 2019, the previous record year. 

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News Release | COVID-19

Massachusetts mayors join national call to urge the Trump Administration to centrally purchase and distribute medical supplies

More than 100 mayors and county executives across 17 states delivered a letter to the Trump administration today urging the federal government to use its emergency powers to ramp up production of critical medical supplies like ventilators and masks, and to centrally distribute those materials. Several Massachusetts mayors joined the call, including Paul Brodeur of Melrose, Michael Cahill of Beverly, Gary Christenson of Malden, Carlo DeMaria of Everett, Kimberley Driscoll of Salem, Thomas McGee of Lynn, Jon Mitchell of New Bedford, Alex Morse of Holyoke, Dan Rivera of Lawrence, Domenic Sarno of Springfield, Sumbul Siddiqui of Cambridge, and Yvonne Spicer of Framingham.  

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

On the first of the month, here’s how to address bill payments challenges during COVID-19

Boston-- The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in job losses across the board, leaving many Americans wondering how they’re going to pay their monthly bills. MASSPIRG Education Fund released a guide Tuesday with tips for how consumers can negotiate with their banks to lower interest rates, waive overdraft fees, and agree on payment plans to provide more financial peace of mind in the months to come.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Massachusetts attorney general demands online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

Boston—Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Maura Healey joined a bipartisan group of 33 attorneys general, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro along with co-leading Attorneys General Hector Balderas (NM), William Tong (CT), and T.J. Donovan (VT), in sending a letter today urging the companies -- Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart -- to quickly implement preventative measures on their platforms to ensure that consumers don’t get taken advantage of during this public health crisis.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Hold the phone! Report shows that repairing your smartphone can save you money and our environment

We rely on our smartphones. When they break, we need them fixed — fast. Unfortunately, there are numerous barriers to fixing our phones. Manufacturers offer a dearth of repair options or digitally lock our phones so we can’t repair them. And when we can’t fix them, and have to get rid of them and buy new ones, that has terrible consequences for our environment.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

Stores nationwide are still offering dangerous and toxic toys this holiday season and, in some cases, ignoring explicit government safety regulations in the process. 

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Lead in Fidget Spinners

The MASSPIRG Education Fund found fidget spinners with high levels of lead for sale at Target stores in Massachusetts and across the country.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

How Reliable Is the T?

HOW RELIABLE IS THE T?  On its “Back on Track Performance Dashboard,” the MBTA publishes daily reliability ratings. How accurate are they? Despite customer satisfaction surveys that indicate over 40 percent of riders find the T to be unreliable, the reliability ratings consistently hover around 90 percent. This report recommends improvements to the method the MBTA uses to calculate reliability that will lead to more accurate ratings.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

Off Shore Shell Games

Seventy three percent of Fortune 500 companies – including General Electric and Boston Scientific maintained subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, according to MASSPIRG's new report - "Offshore Shell Games."

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Financial Reform

Older Consumers in the Financial Marketplace

Mortgages were the leading source (31% of 72,000) of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from consumers 62 and over, followed by complaints about credit reports and debt collection, according to a new report. Further, legislation passed by the U.S. House and awaiting Senate action intended to cripple the Consumer Bureau would place older consumers at greater risk of harm from financial scammers.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Gift Guide: How to avoid toxics in beauty products | Gina Werdel

Gifting beauty products to family and friends this holiday season? Here's a guide to purchasing safer beauty products.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Did your auto insurance company refund you enough for driving less this year? | Jacob van Cleef

State-by-state analysis shows companies financially benefited from fewer claims but barely compensated customers

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

16 ways to have a zero waste holiday in 2020 | Haley Clinton

With many cancelling annual gatherings, this is the year to think of ways to have a more sustainable, zero waste holiday season. Here are some ideas:

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Gift cards are a popular holiday purchase, but be careful this year | Teresa Murray

COVID-19 could push more stores and restaurants out of business soon

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Number of people living on the streets could triple in the months ahead | Jacob van Cleef

Eviction moratoriums, unemployment benefits, student loan repayment reprieves are ending, homeless shelters aren't a good option and there's no more relief in sight.

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Blog Post

Why appliances aren’t built to last, and how the E.U. is changing that. 

Blog Post

A scorecard released by U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that many popular cosmetic brands score poorly on ingredient safety and disclosure. While companies and governments need to take action to protect consumers, in the meantime, you can take steps to keep your personal care routine safe.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

AUSTIN, Texas --  U.S. PIRG Education Fund , Environment America Research & Policy Center, and Student PIRG sent 59,000 petitions and a letter signed by more than 40 state lawmakers Thursday to Whole Foods urging the company to commit to a comprehensive plan for phasing out single-use plastic packaging from its stores. This follows a March 2021 letter signed by more than 130 advocacy and community groups calling on the national supermarket chain to adopt a bold response to the plastic pollution crisis.

News Release

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report today on manufacturers' use of restrictive repair tactics that have kept consumers from repairing their own products.

Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Some of the largest cosmetic and personal care companies are doing a poor job informing the public on what ingredients are going into their products, hiding potentially toxic chemicals from consumers. This report found 20 of 26 surveyed brands had failed to adequately disclose product ingredients to consumers and the average ingredient disclosure score was 5.56 out of 10, or an F, pointing to a need for improvement across the industry.

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