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Blog Post | Financial Reform

As NY Brings Credit Bureaus To Heel, CFPB Arbitration Study Paves Way Toward New Protections | Ed Mierzwinski

Two big consumer stories so far this week offer hope to consumers victimized by credit bureau errors and, more generally, by an inability to take credit bureaus, credit card companies, banks or payday lenders to court when harmed. On Monday, New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman signed a groundbreaking agreement with the Big Three credit bureaus, Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. Then today, the CFPB released a report finding that consumer legal rights are infringed by small-print forced arbitration clauses in credit card and other contracts.  The CFPB will hold a webcast public hearing at 11am Eastern time today (Tuesday) to discuss the report's findings and next steps.

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Media Hit | Financial Reform

Credit Bureaus’ Deal to Improve Accuracy ‘Huge’ for Consumers

(Bloomberg) -- Buying homes, getting jobs and borrowing money will be easier after an agreement by the three biggest U.S. consumer credit reporting services with New York.[...] “It’s a sea change in the way the credit bureaus treat complaints,” said [U.S. PIRG's Ed] Mierzwinski. “The credit bureaus have been run by computers for years now. They’re going to have to hire more people and actually verify that what a creditor said is true.”

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Is Anyone Protecting Your Privacy Or Wallet? Turbotax? Anthem? Apple? The Government? | Ed Mierzwinski

As if recent privacy breaches at the online tax preparer Turbotax and the health insurer Anthem weren't enough, it turns out that low-tech hacks can trick the vaunted Apple Pay system into giving up cash to thieves, too. Meanwhile, while the administration's blueprint for a Privacy Bill of Rights in 2012 was excellent, its new legislative draft from the Department of Commerce could have been written by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There is some good news on privacy, though.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Public Health

McDonald’s Announces Plan to Cut Overuse of Antibiotics in Chicken

McDonald’s announced a new policy today to curb the overuse of antibiotics in raising the chickens that ultimately become McNuggets or other McDonald’s products.  Within two years, farming operations supplying McDonald’s USA restaurants will not be allowed to routinely administer medically important antibiotics to chickens, a practice that is commonplace, even when animals are healthy. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As House Holds Oversight Hearing, 340 Groups Call For Defense of CFPB | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray will present the CFPB's sixth semi-annual report to the House Financial Services Committee, whose majority members have been harsh critics of the successful consumer agency. Americans for Financial Reform, joined by the state PIRGs and a total of 340 national, state and local groups, sent Congress a letter explaining why the idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Red Light and Speed Cameras: Public Safety or Private Gain?

No one likes getting traffic tickets. But a new research report released today by Illinois Public Interest Research Group (Illinois PIRG) will make you dislike them even more.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Health Care

New Report Rates State Health Exchanges

Many states have taken action to create health exchanges to deliver better value for consumers, and Illinois should follow their lead, according to Making the Grade, a new report by Illinois PIRG (Public Interest Research Group).

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Food, Tax

Taxpayer Subsidies for Junk Food Wasting Billions

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a recent analysis shows that taxpayers overwhelmingly subsidize commodity crops instead of fruits and vegetables—enough for each taxpayer to pay for 19 Twinkies, but only a quarter of an apple every year.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Budget, Tax

Unlikely Allies Uncover $1 Trillion in Savings for Super Committee

As the Congressional “Super Committee” begins its search for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, a new study released today by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (Illinois PIRG) and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) provides the panel with a great place to start: more than $1 trillion of spending cuts with appeal from across the political spectrum.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Chicago Failing to Meet TIF Transparency Requirements

A recent analysis of the City of Chicago’s website responsible for providing the public information on Tax Increment Financing (TIF) finds critical information is missing, leaving the public in the dark on how tax dollars are spent.

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