Consumer Protection

Report | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

Big Banks Bigger Fees 2012

Over the last dozen years or more, bank efforts to raise fee income have been bolstered by pliant regulators, who looked the other way while banks piled new fees onto deposit accounts and engaged in deceptive practices to earn more in fees. Regulators encouraged tens of billions of dollars in overdraft fee income by classifying “overdraft protection” products as “account features,” not loans.

Avoiding higher bank fees by shopping for a bank account is not easy. The lack of enforcement has even extended to the laws requiring simple disclosures, so consumers cannot shop around. This is not a new problem. In response to growing complaints about deceptive advertising following the 1980s deregulation, Congress had enacted the 1991 Truth in Savings Act.3 That law was intended to make it easier to shop around; by requiring banks to publish all deposit account-related fees in a schedule and making that schedule available to prospective customers.

Report | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

Total Food Recall

Over the past few years, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing headlines about tainted food being recalled and pulled off of store shelves.  These high-profile recalls leave many Americans wondering whether enough is being done to reduce the risk of contaminated food and foodborne illness.  And they are right to do so – 48 million people get sick from eating tainted food each year, and despite significant costs to our economy and Americans’ public health, the number of such illnesses, particularly from Salmonella, has remained stagnant over at least the past 5 years?.

News Release | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

New Report: American Lives at Risk from Unsafe Foods

Despite government commitments to address the problem, food recalls are on the rise and our food safety systems are broken, according to a new report by Illinois PIRG.  Contaminated food makes 48 million Americans sick every year and costs over $77 billion in aggregated economic costs.  Here in Illinois in the last 21 months, 108 people were made sick from foodborne illnesses linked directly to food recalls and the cost in Illinois was over $6 million. 
 

News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Testing Finds 7 out of 10 Baby Products Contain Toxic Flame Retardants

In its new report, "Testing for Toxics," Illinois PIRG shows the results of testing of baby products from the Chicago area for chlorinated Tris, a flame retardant that is a proven mutagen and likely carcinogen.  Seven out of ten products found at popular chains contained  the chemical, and two of those had no label indicating its presence.  These products included diaper changing kits, car seats and cradle pads.   

Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Testing for Toxics

In an effort to better understand the prevalence of toxic chemicals that pose a risk to children’s health, Illinois PIRG Education Fund purchased ten common baby products and tested these products for chlorinated Tris, or TDCPP, a chemical that has been linked to cancer, mutagenicity, hormone disruption, neurological damage, and infertility. We also checked to see which of the products that were found to contain chlorinated Tris had a consumer label indicating the presence of toxic flame retardant chemicals to at least give consumers notice that some form of flame retardant is in the product. We found chlorinated Tris in a majority of the children’s products tested (7 of 10). Of the products found to contain chlorinated Tris, only 5 had labels indicating its presence. 

With only a short time left before the November elections, it's time for Congress to step up and pass the Safe Chemicals Act.  Illinois PIRG is calling on Congressional leadership to pass a law that would strengthen laws to protect us from toxic chemicals that are far too prevalent in our homes and communities.  

News Release | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

Passage of H.R. 4078 Would Shut Down Public Health and Consumer Safeguards and Put All Americans at Risk

The House’s passage of H.R. 4078 would shut down the U.S. regulatory system as we know it, delaying virtually all rule making and public health protections.

News Release | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

POLL SHOWS VOTERS FAVOR STRONG OVERSIGHT OF WALL STREET AND BACK NEW CFPB

Financial reforms enacted in response to the financial meltdown remain popular to voters on the eve of the first anniversary for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Toxic Flame Retardants - What's Next?

By | Brian Imus
State Director

On Tuesday, Senator Durbin followed up on his demand for reform of regulations of toxic flame retardants by calling a hearing of the Senate Committee on Appropriations to examine the effectiveness of the furniture flammability standards that require the use of toxic chemicals – even in children’s products. 

Odd Bedfellows Oppose the Tenaska Tax

By | Brian Imus
State Director

Illinois PIRG joined with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce to oppose Senate Bill 678 – legislation that would force Illinois consumers to pay for a proposed coal plant the Tenaska Corporation wants to build

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