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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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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 | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

FCC NET NEUTRALITY ORDER PROTECTS THE OPEN INTERNET

Today the FCC took not one but two critical actions to make sure that the Internet works for everybody. First, it issued a "Net Neutrality" order guaranteeing a free and open Internet. This Internet freedom order will prevent the phone and cable companies from granting fast lanes or other preferences to already powerful firms. The FCC also acted to override state laws that prevented local governments from building out broadband networks to compete with the phone and cable companies.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Rio Grande Guardian: Reyes and Rodriguez praised for their votes for health care reform

The Texas Public Interest Research Group hailed Congressmen Silvestre Reyes and Ciro Rodriguez for voting for the Affordable Health Care for America Act. “The pressure on all members of the House from well-funded, anti-reform lobbies was enormous, but Representatives Rodriguez and Reyes chose to do what was right for communities here in Texas,” said Melissa Cubria, on behalf of Austin-based TexPIRG.

 

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News Release | TexPIRG | Health Care

TexPIRG Praises Members of the Texas Delegation for Health Care Vote

Today, following the historic House passage of health reform legislation, Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG) praised members of the Texas Delegation for their votes for the bill.

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News Release | TexPIRG | Financial Reform

TexPIRG applauds House committee vote to advance landmark consumer agency to replace system that failed

Today, the U.S. House Financial Services Committee approved landmark reform legislation establishing a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, despite “often blatantly false attacks from industry opponents.” 

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Media Hit | Health Care

The Daily Texan: Study finds that small businesses are disadvantaged by higher health care costs

 

 

 

The employees of Austin’s small businesses are at risk under the current health care system, according to a recent study. The study, conducted by the Texas Public Interest Research Group, examines how the current health care system negatively affects smaller businesses across the nation. Many of the effects of the system that pertain to Austin include increases in the cost of health care premiums for employees as well as businesses’ inability to provide insurance coverage for employees because of high costs.

 

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