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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 | CoPIRG Foundation, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Frontier Group | Consumer Protection

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 CoPIRG Foundation. 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 | CoPIRG Foundation, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Frontier Group | Consumer Protection

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. Analysis of complaint volumes and the types of complaints received shows that, as consumers dealt with the economic fallout of the pandemic, they increasingly faced  problems with financial companies.

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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 | CoPIRG | COVID-19

CoPIRG Calls on Gov. Polis to keep stay-at-home order in place

CoPIRG is calling on Gov. Jared Polis to keep Colorado’s stay-at-home order in place beyond this weekend because the state is not meeting the guidelines laid out by public health experts, including the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials, around testing, tracking, and the number of new cases per day.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Americans need stronger consumer protections during COVID-19 crisis

U.S. PIRG Education Fund has released a report with the Student Borrower Protection Center and Consumer Action. The report makes recommendations to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to upgrade its consumer complaint tool, including the public consumer complaint database, so COVID19-related complaints can be handled more quickly and tracked better.

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation | COVID-19

After public outcry, ventilator repair restrictions loosen

CoPIRG and the national federation of state PIRGs have been pressuring ventilator manufacturers to remove restrictions on who can fix these life-saving devices. Our efforts, along with those of our allies at Repair.org, got a boost last week, when Colorado Treasurer Dave Young and state treasurers from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Illinois, and Rhode Island sent a letter to manufacturers calling for them to release proprietary repair manuals, service keys, schematics and repair software. In response, some manufacturers are loosening restrictions on repair information. 

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News Release | CoPIRG and the Denver Streets Partnership | COVID-19

Mile High Connects recognized for getting protective gear to RTD, mobilizing local artists to produce more

On Wednesday, the Denver Streets Partnership (DSP), a coalition of organizations, including CoPIRG, that advocate for people-friendly streets, recognized one of their members, Mile High Connects, for their outstanding role in responding to the COVID19 pandemic. In the last week, Mile High Connects has been able to get 2,000 masks and 240 face shields transferred from Golden-based bicycle manufacturer Yeti Cycles to Denver’s transit agency, RTD, to be used by frontline workers. Mile High Connects also created a rapid response grant fund and has provided Redline Contemporary Art Center with a grant to kickstart a mask making business that employs their resident artists, and will produce hundreds of masks for the transit agency. 

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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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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Public Health

Getting Personal with Chemicals

We should be able to trust that the products we buy are safe — especially the ones our families use every day, directly on our bodies. However, we looked into common ingredients in popular personal care products, and found that when we use these products, like shampoo, baby wipes, deodorant, shaving gel, or perfume, we are often dosing our bodies with chemicals that can disrupt our hormones, cause developmental problems, cause cancer, and more.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group | Budget

Following the Money 2017: Special Districts

Special districts are a significant form of government, and should be held to strong financial transparency standards. A review of 79 special districts’ online financial transparency shows that while a few districts are meeting the goals of “Transparency 2.0” – a standard of comprehensive, one-stop, oneclick budget accountability and accessibility – the vast majority do little to inform citizens about how they spend money.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group | Consumer Protection

Medical Debt Malpractice

Medical debt collectors often employ aggressive tactics and attempt to collect debt from the wrong customers – putting consumers' credit records at risk. A review of 17,701 medical debt collection complaints submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests that many consumers contacted about medical debt should not have been contacted in the first place, and that many contacts involve aggressive or inappropriate tactics.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

CoPIRG Foundation staff examined toys recalled by the CPSC between January 2015 and October 2016 and looked at whether they appeared to still be available for sale online. Since January 2015, the CPSC, in cooperation with manufacturers and distributors, has announced over 40 recalls of toys and children’s products totaling over 35 million units. We found that over a dozen recalled toys appeared to be available for sale. Also, parents should watch out for recalled toys that could still be in their homes.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Outside Influence: Out-of-state money in the 2016 senate elections

Control of the United States Senate is at stake in the 2016 elections. Out of 34 senate races nationally, the outcome could be decided by just several swing states and a few key constituencies. But there is another deciding factor in this year’s race for the senate: money.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Colorado Public Utility Commission greenlights Xcel’s TEP - What does that mean? | Danny Katz

Early Wednesday evening, Colorado’s utility regulator gave a greenlight to our largest utility’s Transportation Electrification Plan, a proposal to invest millions in electric vehicle infrastructure. As we wait for the details, one thing is clear - this is one of the biggest actions taken this year in Colorado to tackle climate change and it will bring big consumer benefits for years to come.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

I canceled my decade long tradition of traveling to see family for the holidays. Please join me | Danny Katz

COVID-19 is not under control in Colorado. We need to stay at home this holiday season to do our part to stop viral spread and save lives.

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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 | US PIRG

Beech-Nut will stop selling all single grain rice cereal after Alaska state officials discovered high arsenic levels during routing sampling, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement released Tuesday.

News Release | US PIRG

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission approved tough new standards Wednesday to regulate several infant sleep products for the first time.

Blog Post

Why appliances aren’t built to last, and how the E.U. is changing that. 

Blog Post

While businesses are permitted to charge higher prices in response to market forces, they aren’t allowed in states with price gouging laws to increase prices excessively to take advantage of a emergency such as the pipeline shutdown, a hurricane or the pandemic. 

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