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A week's worth of help and tips during Consumer Protection Week

Being a consumer is a tough job. Really tough. During National Consumer Protection Week, which runs through March 6, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund staff is offering a daily dose of tips and advice to help you navigate life’s biggest consumer challenges.

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News Release | MASSPIRG

Study: CFPB complaints shattered records in 2020, exposing how the COVID-19 pandemic battered consumer finances

Consumer complaints about problems with financial companies such as banks, credit bureaus and debt collectors rose by more than 50 percent in 2020 and set new records for each month of the year, according to a new report from the MASSPIRG Education Fund. The report, Consumers In Peril, which analyzed complaints received by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), was released Monday to kick off National Consumer Protection Week.

 

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Consumers In Peril

A review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s public complaint database finds that consumer complaints about financial grievances spiked during the pandemic year of 2020, eclipsing 2019, the previous record year. 

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Blog Post

Mounting evidence: Asbestos in talc-based makeup (again) | Gina Werdel

Once again, product testing demonstrates that the risk of asbestos contamination in talc-based cosmetic products is simply too high to accept.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Elizabeth L. Cline: we need policy to stop new clothes from making a ‘straight line’ to the landfill | Olivia Sullivan

We hear from the author and journalist on secondhand clothing, the fashion industry’s addiction to cheap fossil fuels and how to break the waste cycle.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

How to save money and make safer online purchases during COVID-19

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 concerns as they arise, MASSPIRG Education Fund is publishing new tip guides each week to help consumers navigate this crisis.

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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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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

Trash in Massachusetts: State of the State

After decades of focusing on the 'recycling' part of reduce, reuse, recycle, it's time to step back and truly consider the first mandate in that mantra: Reduce. We cannot recycle our way out of all the waste we create. As the attached national report chronicles, we are trashing our health and our environment by producing too much stuff, most of which ends up in landfills, incinerators, or as litter.

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Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide

With this Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide, parents, teachers, and students can make more informed decisions while shopping for school supplies this Back to School season. We want to give parents and teachers the option to choose school supplies that do not contain toxic chemicals. This Shopping Guide should serve as a handy tool for finding products free of several types of toxic chemicals.

 

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Highway Boondoggles 4

America's infrastructure is in rough shape. Many of our roads, bridges, and transit systems are aging and in need of repair. Yet, year after year, state and local governments propose billions of dollars' worth of new and expanded highways that do little to reduce congestion or address real transportation challenges, while diverting scarce funding from repairs and 21st century priorities. This report profiles nine highway projects that epitomize the need for a fresh approach to transportation spending.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Electric Buses: Clean Transportation for Healthier Communities and Cleaner Air

Buses play a key role in in our nation’s transportation system, carrying millions of children daily to and from school and moving millions of Americans each day around our cities.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2018

Massachusetts received a “B-” for its government spending transparency website, according to “Following the Money 2018: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the eighth report of its kind.

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Blog Post

PFAS Free & I’m Lovin’ It | Danielle Melgar

McDonald’s just committed to phasing out PFAS-treated food packaging from its restaurants globally by 2025. Other restaurants, like Burger King and Wendy’s, should follow its lead.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Rebooking airline tickets: How to sort out various vouchers and credits for future flights | Jacob van Cleef

With vaccines here, it may soon be time to reschedule vacations and other trips for later this year

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Online shopping tips: Don't let last-minute desperation make you careless | Jacob van Cleef

Here's some advice to help keep your information and wallet safe

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Gift Guide: How to avoid toxics in beauty products | Gina Werdel

Gifting beauty products to family and friends this holiday season? Here's a guide to purchasing safer beauty products.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

BOSTON - The Student PIRGs, a student environmental organizing group, is partnering with local organizations, student governments and elected officials to host in-person and virtual actions to celebrate Youth Earth Week, a national effort of more than 250 actions around the country to protect the environment, from April 19 to 23.

News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

A month after announcing a weak plan to reduce heavy metals in baby food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new plan Thursday aimed at making baby food safer over the next several years.

Blog Post

This blog is the second in a series examining policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis that are proven and replicable. This section covers recycled content requirements.

Blog Post

We spoke to Je’May Ward, a clean beauty blogger from North Carolina, about what clean beauty advocacy means for her.

News Release | MASSPIRG

MENLO PARK, CA -- Facebook users need to be extra vigilant in the weeks and months ahead because identity thieves could use information from their accounts to try and commit fraud.

 

Reports emerged Saturday that a hacker published data from more than 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries, including 32 million Americans. The compromised data includes full names, phone numbers, Facebook IDs, birthdates, bios, locations and, in some cases, email addresses, according to Business Insider.

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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 social change.