What's New

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Joint Statement Opposing Exceptions to CFPB Payday Rule

We've joined 10 other leading consumer, community, religious and civil rights organizations to oppose exemptions to a strong CFPB payday and auto title lending rule and to reiterate our opposition to an exception that has already been considered and rejected that would allow lenders to make longer-term installment loans without considering a borrower’s ability to repay so long as the payment did not exceed five percent of a borrowers’ income.

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Blog Post | Public Health

What’s that toxic smell? One Father Clashes with the Chemical Industry | Anna Low-Beer

The movie Stink! originated with one pair of children’s pajamas that Director John Whelan bought his daughters for Christmas in 2011. The new pajamas, when taken out of their plastic packaging, smelled overwhelmingly of chemicals. That one smell prompted Whelan to look deeper into fragrance and the chemical industry’s use of secret and often toxic chemicals in our everyday products. He simply wanted to know – what’s in the stuff we buy? “It seemed like a common-sense question to ask…I’m just trying to find out what chemicals they would put on kids’ pajamas,” he said. A common-sense question, yes. One with a simple answer? Not so much. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Privacy, Consumer Groups Critical of Facial Recognition Report

We've joined leading privacy and consumer advocates in a news release sharply critical of a supposed "best-practices" report released today by the Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) concerning privacy and facial recognition technology. While the report purports to be the product of a "multi-stakeholder" process, all the leading privacy and consumer stakeholders dropped out of the skewed proceedings many months ago, as the release explains. It concludes: "There is much more lacking in these “best practices,” but there is one good thing: this document helps to make the case for why we need to enact laws and regulations to protect our privacy."

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Video Blog | Consumer Protection

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The retirement industry is a minefield -- but here’s the answer

In this week’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” host John Oliver called out three main problems hurting consumers when it comes to retirement: First, financial advisers aren’t currently required to work in their clients’ best interest. Second, high fees compound over time. Third, actively managed investment funds aren’t the answer. 

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Proposed health insurance rate hikes up to 32.3% merit close scrutiny, raise stakes for containing rising health care costs

Many of Oregon’s biggest health insurers have proposed large double-digit rate hikes for 2017, and according to new OSPIRG Foundation analysis released today, these proposals highlight not only the need for close scrutiny of health insurance rates, but also the urgency of action to contain the rising cost of health care services.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Health Care

Twenty Top Generic Drugs Delayed By Industry Payoffs

Oregonians with cancer, heart disease, epilepsy and other conditions have been forced to pay an average of 10 times more than necessary for at least 20 blockbuster drugs, according to a report released today by the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) and Community Catalyst.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Tax

Oregon Legislature Unanimously Passes Bill to Increase Government Transparency

The Oregon legislature took an important step towards ensuring that Oregonians have access to information on how public dollars are spent through the unanimous passage of House Bill 2370.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Democracy

Oregon becomes 16th state on record against big money in politics

After a State Senate vote on July 1, Oregon became the 16th state to call for an amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and related decisions.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Higher Ed

Interest Rate for 121,570 Student Loan Borrowers in Oregon Doubles

Due to Congressional inaction, the interest rates on federally subsidized student loans doubled on July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The change will affect 121,570 students in Oregon, and in total the rate increase will hike the cost of Oregon students’ loans by over $110 million. That translates into a $906 increase in debt per student, per loan.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Oregon slashes 2014 health insurance premium requests by as much as 35 percent

Oregonians who buy their own insurance have the first clear indication of what 2014 premiums will look like after state regulators Tuesday slashed carriers' rate requests by as much as 35 percent.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

President’s Recess Appointment Gives Watchdog Teeth It Needs To Protect ConsumersBrian RaeEd Mierzwinski

Kudos to President Obama for standing up for consumers this week by making a recess appointment of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The President’s action means that the CFPB now has all its powers to protect the public from unfair financial practices, whether by banks or other financial firms, such as payday lenders and credit bureaus.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Consumer Watch: Web Piracy and a Critical Consumer Vote | Brian Rae

Stop Web Piracy? There has been much online talk about the internet piracy act being considered by Congress. Consumer groups have thrown their hat into the ring to express concern that the bill could close off online exchanges that provide lower prices for consumers, reduce online security, and allow for anti-consumer practices by online service providers

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Black Friday Tips and Warnings | Brian Rae

OSPIRG’s Consumer Watch Trouble in Toyland- OSPIRG has release its 26th annual Toy Safety Report and mobile website, www.toysafety.mobi to keep toy safety at parents fingertips. DOJ Warns of Black Friday Scams– Planning on shopping this Friday in stores or online? The Oregon Attorney General has issued tips and warnings on how to avoid holiday shopping scams.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Fast trains slowly appearing on the horizon | David Rosenfeld

Many Willamette Valley commuters and businesses frustrated at I-5 rush hour and gas prices have longed for a convenient, reliable and speedy train between Portland and Eugene. The solutions aren’t quite around the bend yet, but some important behind-the-scenes activity in recent months might create a path towards greater transit choices for Oregon’s consumers and businesses. 

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