Recent PIRG Consumer News Releases and Testimony
- Lott Sneaks Dangerous Rebuilt Wreck Bill into Package: Last-Minute Special Deal for Car Dealers, Insurance Industry. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) is paying back wealthy campaign contributors by pushing to add a dangerous auto salvage bill to the Omnibus Appropriations package, leading consumer and safety groups said today. [21 Oct 98]
- Senate Fails to Protect Consumers from Double Dipping ATM Surcharges. Statement of Ed Mierzwinski U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director: ãConsumers will continue to pay twice to use the ATM once, because too many U.S. Senators listened to their big bank campaign contributors instead of to the complaints of the American people about skyrocketing bank fees. By the time those Senators realize that ATM surcharges are not only anti-consumer, but also anti-competitive, it may be too late to stop the fee-gouging big banks . . . [17 Sep 98]
- Leaving Indsutry to "Regulate" Itself Will Worsen Privacy Invasions, Experts Say: Advocacy Groups tell White House Conference that Administration Policy is Placing Citizens At Risk. Leading privacy advocates and consumer groups have warned Americans that their privacy remains dangerously unprotected by industry and government. In a joint statement released today the advocates told the U.S. Department of Commerce, which will host a public meeting on Internet Privacy on June 23-24, that industry proposals for self-regulation have failed. They have called for privacy laws and urge consumers to take steps to protect their personal data online and off. [22 Jun 98
- Public Playgrounds Place Children at Risk: CFA/PIRG Release National Survey. Dangerous conditions in a majority of public playgrounds still pose hidden threats to our nation's youngsters, according to a fourth nationwide survey of 760 playgrounds in 24 states and Washington, DC released today by Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). CFA also released an updated comprehensive model law, a revised "Parent Checklist," for playground safety and a new home play equipment factsheet. [11 Jun 98]
- Bigger Banks Mean Bigger Fees: Statement of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group on the announced mergers of Bank of America with Nationsbank and First Chicago with Bank One. "Bigger banks means bigger fees. Both PIRG and Federal Reserve bank fee studies have confirmed that bigger banks use monopoly muscle to charge their customers higher fees than small banks and credit unions do. These mergers will result in less consumer choice and less competition-- that means higher fees for consumers. PIRG is appalled that to date, both the Department of Justice and the Federal Reserve have rubber-stamped every financial merger they have seen . . . ."[13 Apr 98]
- ATM Surcharging Rates Go Up On Second Anniversary of Fee: National Survey Finds 4 in 5 Big Banks Charge Consumers Twice. The percentage of banks charging the controversial ATM surcharge has increased dramatically since April 1997, according to a new PIRG survey of banks across the country. Two years ago, on April 1, 1996, the two largest ATM networks, Plus and Cirrus, ended their ban on ATM-owners charging non- accountholders a surcharge fee, on top of the foreign fee over 80% of banks already charge their accountholders for using another ownerâs ATM. The study also found that big banks charge more, and higher, surcharges than do small banks and credit unions.[1 Apr 98]
- New PIRG Survey Finds Credit Reports Riddled With Errors: Finds Mistakes By "Data Dealers" Still Hurt Consumers, Despite New Laws. A national survey released today by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) found that, despite passage of a 1996 federal law, nearly one-third of credit reports still contain serious errors that could cause consumers to be denied credit. The report also found that many consumers still can't get through to bureaus to request their reports. The report makes recommendations to Congress and state legislatures on ways to improve credit report access and accuracy . . . . [12 Mar 98]
- NEW CREDIT REPORT LAW TAKES EFFECT SEPT. 30TH, BUT CHANGES WON'T STOP GROWING IDENTITY THEFT PROBLEM: Report highlights new law on credit report accuracy and privacy -- Revised credit and theft-of-identity fact sheets announced [23 Sep 97] Despite major amendments to federal credit bureau laws that take effect September 30th, fraudulent theft of financial identity remains a growing problem requiring additional action, according to a report released today by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).
- Letter to the Federal Reserve Board [22 Aug 97] PIRG supports Federal Reserve Board Rule requiring banks and their affiliates to give consumers their full credit report disclosure rights when credit is denied based on a credit report
- Consumer Groups Urge CPSC Investigation of Possible Choking Hazard in "Nestle Magic" Toys Contained in Chocolate Eggs [15 Aug 97] Two of the nation's leading consumer groups today urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to open an investigation and conduct a public education campaign concerning the new "Nestle Magic" product, which consists of small "Disney" figurines encased in a two part plastic egg surrounded by a chocolate egg.
- Statement of PIRG Responding to VISA Announcement Limiting ATM Debit Card Liability [13 Aug 97] Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director: "It's a good first step to voluntarily reduce liability, but it should be the law. Consumers should not face the risk of losing all the money in their checking accounts, simply because their bank replaced their safe, secret code based ATM card with an unsecure card that allows a thief to drain their checking account . . ."