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News Release | MASSPIRG | COVID-19

Private lenders announce they’ll suspend student loan payments

A newly announced agreement will protect the finances of millions of Americans who owe money on student loans.

Last month’s CARES Act put all federally held student loans into forbearance through September, ended collections and other actions against defaulted borrowers, and stopped the accrual of interest. However, these benefits were not extended to borrowers whose loans are held by private lenders. To protect those former students, leaders from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington worked with private lenders.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Statement: SBA data breach puts business owners at risk of ID theft and other fraud

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Tuesday that the personal information of nearly 8,000 business owners applying for federal disaster loans had been exposed. The breach affects applicants to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), and may have included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, email addresses, phone numbers, citizenship statuses and insurance information.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

COVID-19 consumer tips: Scams, utility bills and your stimulus check

Boston-- In the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, American consumers are experiencing numerous public health and financial challenges, including virus-related scams, fake products promising cures and price gouging. To help address these concerns and more, MASSPIRG Education Fund is publishing new guides and tips each week to help consumers navigate this crisis.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Consumer complaints of COVID-19 fraud surpass 15,000

Scammers and other bad actors are trying to take advantage of Americans’ heightened fears around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and fraud complaints are soaring. Consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the virus surpassed 15,000 Thursday.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

State legislators from 45 states, including Massachusetts, demand online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

Boston—Twenty-five state legislators joined their peers across the nation calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Together, 346 legislators representing 45 states, joined MASSPIRG Education Fund in sending a letter Tuesday urging Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart to quickly implement preventative measures on their platforms to ensure that consumers don’t get taken advantage of during this public health crisis. Less than two weeks ago, 33 attorneys general, including Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, sent a similar letter to the same companies.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

State legislators from 45 states, including Massachusetts, demand online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

Boston—Twenty-five state legislators joined their peers across the nation calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Together, 346 legislators representing 45 states, joined MASSPIRG Education Fund in sending a letter Tuesday urging Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart to quickly implement preventative measures on their platforms to ensure that consumers don’t get taken advantage of during this public health crisis. Less than two weeks ago, 33 attorneys general, including Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, sent a similar letter to the same companies.

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News Release | COVID-19

Massachusetts mayors join national call to urge the Trump Administration to centrally purchase and distribute medical supplies

More than 100 mayors and county executives across 17 states delivered a letter to the Trump administration today urging the federal government to use its emergency powers to ramp up production of critical medical supplies like ventilators and masks, and to centrally distribute those materials. Several Massachusetts mayors joined the call, including Paul Brodeur of Melrose, Michael Cahill of Beverly, Gary Christenson of Malden, Carlo DeMaria of Everett, Kimberley Driscoll of Salem, Thomas McGee of Lynn, Jon Mitchell of New Bedford, Alex Morse of Holyoke, Dan Rivera of Lawrence, Domenic Sarno of Springfield, Sumbul Siddiqui of Cambridge, and Yvonne Spicer of Framingham.  

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

On the first of the month, here’s how to address bill payments challenges during COVID-19

Boston-- The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in job losses across the board, leaving many Americans wondering how they’re going to pay their monthly bills. MASSPIRG Education Fund released a guide Tuesday with tips for how consumers can negotiate with their banks to lower interest rates, waive overdraft fees, and agree on payment plans to provide more financial peace of mind in the months to come.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Massachusetts attorney general demands online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

Boston—Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Maura Healey joined a bipartisan group of 33 attorneys general, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro along with co-leading Attorneys General Hector Balderas (NM), William Tong (CT), and T.J. Donovan (VT), in sending a letter today urging the companies -- Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart -- to quickly implement preventative measures on their platforms to ensure that consumers don’t get taken advantage of during this public health crisis.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Driving Into Debt

In much of America, access to a car is all but required to hold a job or lead a full and vibrant life. Generations of car-centric transportation policies – including lavish spending on roads, sprawl-inducing land use policies, and meager support for other modes of transportation – have left millions of Americans fully dependent on cars for daily living.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Food

How Safe is Our Food

From E. coli-infected romaine lettuce to Salmonella-tainted beef, contaminated foods lead to illnesses that sicken as many as 1 in 6 Americans annually. In 2018, this epidemic helped spur major recalls, which caused stores and restaurants to toss millions of pounds of meat and produce.  MASSPIRG Education Fund’s new report How Safe is Our Food?, released today, reveals how fundamental flaws in our current food safety system have led to a jump in these recalls since 2013.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

MASSPIRG releases 33rd anual toy safety report at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. This holiday season, watch out for dangerous and toxic toys. MASSPIRG’s 33rd annual Trouble in Toyland report found toxic amounts of boron in slime products and a failure by Amazon to appropriately label choking hazards. Boron can cause nausea, vomiting and other health issues.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Paying for Electric Buses

Electric buses are here, and they are cleaner and healthier than their diesel counterparts. They save money over the long-run, but the purchase price of an electric bus is greater than that of a diesel bus. Many transit agencies and school districts want to make the switch, but struggle with overcoming the hurdle of the purchase price. This new report lays out funding and financing options that will help transit agencies and school districts ditch diesel and get us on the road to a cleaner, healthier world. 

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

A Citizen's Guide to Reducing Energy Waste

The future is here—but we’re living in the past.

Clean energy from the sun and wind can provide for our energy needs without the global consequences of pollution, yet we’re still producing and consuming virtually all of our energy in ways that do lasting damage to our environment, our health and our climate. To make matters worse, much of the dirty energy we produce goes to waste.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Toxic triclosan in toothpaste? | Dev Gowda

A recent article in the LA Times revealed that a new study found that the toxic compound triclosan, which is commonly found in toothpaste as well as other consumer products such as cosmetics, children’s toys, and yoga mats, “could cause adverse effects on colonic inflammation and colon cancer.”

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Blog Post | Budget

Much Progress but Still Long Way to Go on Transparency of Quasi-Public Agencies | Deirdre Cummings

New story in the Boston Globe today found at least 19 "quasi-public" agencies in Massachusetts failed to publish millions of dollars in payroll and spending data on the state's transparency website as required by a MASSPIRG backed 2010 law that mandated the public disclosures. 

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Blog Post | Public Health

Home remodeling shouldn’t be a deadly project: Toxic paint removers being sold by Lowe’s and other stores | Dev Gowda

No one should lose a loved one to deadly chemicals. But right now you can walk into Lowe’s and other stores and buy paint removers containing highly toxic chemicals.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Boston to Consider Plastic Ban Bag | Janet Domenitz

More than 60 community organizations, advocates, membership groups, and business leaders have united to urge the Boston City Council to pass the proposed Ordinance Regarding the Reduction of Plastic Bags in Boston (Chapter 17-19). The Ordinance will significantly advance the City’s Zero Waste goals, and it will bring economic benefits to the city’s businesses, consumers, and taxpayers. Over the past two years over 50 cities and towns in Massachusetts have passed laws to reduce plastic waste. Now it is Boston’s turn.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

This coming Monday, June 1, will mark the third full month that bills are due since COVID-19 was declared a national state of emergency in March. To help Americans manage their finances, U.S. PIRG Education Fund has published an updated guide with tips on what to do about paying bills during the crisis.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Consumer complaints to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the coronavirus approached 50,000 on Tuesday. U.S. PIRG Education Fund has documented the actions taken by the FTC and 14 other federal agencies in response to coronavirus scams.

Blog Post

Public health experts have made it abundantly clear that to safely lift stay-at-home rules we must have four key things we don’t yet have. We need fast, accurate and widely available testing. We need a better plan for isolating and supporting people who have COVID-19. We need sufficient hospital capacity, including medical and protective equipment, to treat all patients safely. And we need more contact tracing. This blog explains U.S. PIRG's support for automated warning and contact tracing, subject to appropriate privacy and civil liberties protections, which can provide critical information quickly about who has potentially been exposed.

News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund

BOSTON -- Desperate for a cure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many Americans are turning to the internet for answers. What they’re finding, however, is a minefield of dubious products posted by unscrupulous sellers. False claims are tricking worried people into paying for fake solutions that give them a false sense of security. The federal government hasn’t approved any product that prevents or treats COVID-19.

News Release | MASSPIRG

Refunding event tickets: With countless concerts, sporting events, festivals, tours and other large gatherings canceled or likely to be canceled this summer, people are wondering if and how they can get their money back that they already spent on tickets. Will you receive a refund, a new ticket when the event is rescheduled, or neither? This guide walks through steps you can take to find out where your money is and whether you can receive a refund.

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Your tax-deductible donation supports MASSPIRG Education Fund’s work to educate consumers on the issues that matter, and to stand up to the powerful interests that are blocking progress.

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You can also support MASSPIRG Education Fund’s work through bequests, contributions from life insurance or retirement plans, securities contributions and vehicle donations. 




MASSPIRG Education Fund is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.