PROTECTING CONSUMER SAFETY—Toys should not be toxic or dangerous for children to play with. Our food should not make us sick. The terms for banking and credit accounts should be clear and easy to understand.
LOOKING OUT FOR CONSUMERS
TexPIRG’s consumer program works to alert the public to hidden dangers and scams and to ban anti-consumer practices and unsafe products.
TROUBLE IN TOYLAND
For 30 years, TexPIRG’s "Trouble In Toyland" report has surveyed store shelves and identified choking hazards, noise hazards and other dangers. Our report has led to at least 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years.
BIGGER BANKS, BIGGER FEES
In April, TexPIRG released a report in which we surveyed more than 350 bank branches and revealed that fewer than half of branches obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers, while one in four provided no fee information at all. We also found that despite widespread stories about the “death” of free checking, free and low-cost checking choices are still widely available, if consumers shop around.
Today, TexPIRG asked the Governor to get SB1264 off his desk and into law, protecting consumers with non-federal health plans from ever having to deal with surprise medical bills again. Check out what we had to say.
Members of Congress hear repeatedly from lobbyists for corporate special interests in their offices and at fundraisers. How can consumer advocates balance the scales?
In most of the country, owning a car is all but required. And we're paying for it—to the tune of $1.2 trillion. This is putting the financial well-being of millions of Americans at risk, and TexPIRG and our national network are calling for change.
The legislative session adjourned on Monday, with consumers and the public interest claiming some big victories including the end of surprise medical bills, said the consumer group TexPIRG on Tuesday.
Surprise medical bills will no longer affect consumers in Texas with a non-federal insurance plan after bipartisan work on Senator Hancock’s SB1264. The bill expands on a Texas Department of Insurance program that sends eligible surprise medical bills to an arbitration process between the insurance company and the healthcare provider. Before, consumers had to be aware of their eligibility and submit a request, but with the update, consumers will no longer even receive the surprise medical bill in the first place, significantly increasing utilization.
The rest of the good news:
A bill by Representative Oliverson will prevent hidden fees at freestanding emergency rooms, ending a prominent consumer abuse.
Telemarketers won’t be able to “spoof” their calls anymore, thanks to Representative Leman’s HB1992. Spoofing is the practice where robocallers make their calls appear as if they originate from the same area code as the individual they are calling.
The Lower Colorado River Authority will be more transparent after TexPIRG and others called for changes as part of legislation to reauthorize the agency.
SB9, a bill that would reduce voter participation by making it harder to register and vote, was not passed. The bill was authored by Republic Senator Hughes.
HB3040, authored by Representative Hunter, will study how we select our judges, including whether or not elections or appointments will lead to more qualified, representative judicial nominees.
None of the many bills designed to block construction of a high-speed bullet train from Houston to Dallas passed, continuing the possibility of reduced congestion on I45 and lower transportation-related air emissions.
Bills to increase transparency in government spending, such as Representative Canales’ HB81, which requires disclosure of public spending on entertainment events, sometimes referred to as the Enrique Iglesias bill, after public spending on a concert by that artist received significant public criticism for the expenditure amount being hidden from the taxpayer.
“We were pleased with how the legislative session turned out, especially with the amount of transparency and healthcare-related bills that passed,” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG’s Director. “Consumers benefit from more transparency, in government, businesses, and markets, and we saw a concerted effort to pursue that goal.”
“Ending surprise medical bills for a large portion of Texas consumers and enacting one of the strongest arbitration programs in the country will serve healthcare consumers well in the coming years,” continued Scoggin.
Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million Rock n’Play baby sleepers on Friday. U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog Adam Garber issued a response: "“While we’re pleased that Fisher-Price is finally recalling these dangerous sleepers, 30 deaths in 10 years is 30 deaths too many and 10 years too late."
Consumer Protection | U.S. PIRG
Report shows how campus debit cards — along with how they are marketed — are putting students' financial well-being at risk across the country.
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Seeking Compensation for Consumers and Environment
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