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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

We Commend CFPB For Adding Consumer Stories To Public Complaint Database

Yesterday, the CFPB published the first batch (7,700) of consumer narratives or stories to the Public Consumer Complaint Database it began in 2011. We've used the database to publish five reports (so far) analyzing complaint trends in markets ranging from credit cards to student loans but we have also long urged the voluntary addition of stories to the data fields. Now, consumers can learn if what happened to them happened to anyone else. Now, researchers can track which banks are more responsive to particular problems and which ignore their customers. A good resource is now an excellent resource.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

The More I Hear About OPM Data Breach, The Less I Know, Except This: It's Bad | Ed Mierzwinski

Was it 4 million, 14 million or 18 million records breached (how many times) (likely) by Chinese hackers? Whose fault was it? The USOPM director says no one's. Really? Perhaps the worst data breach ever raises lots of questions, but I haven't heard any good answers. Federal employees, their families, their friends and their neighbors -- because all of them could be victims -- deserve better answers, just as they deserve better service than USOPM's credit monitoring provider is giving them.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Hill Threats to CFPB Escalate As CFPB Protects Consumers, Servicemembers | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the House Appropriations Committee, at the behest of both Wall Street and predatory lenders seeking to run amok, will vote to eliminate the CFPB's independence from the politicized appropriations process. Meanwhile, over at the CFPB, important work to protect consumers, including servicemembers, from unfair and predatory financial practices continues.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Data Breach Here, Data Breach There, Data Breach Everywhere! | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED 10 June Re DHS Breach: If you shop with plastic, have health insurance, pay taxes, work for the federal government, or (fill in blank) you’re at risk of a data breach. And with so much information about you already available on the Internet, it’s best not to select easy-search security questions like “Where were you born?” or answers like “Pizza.” What’s your best defense against identity theft? No, it isn’t credit monitoring, it’s a security freeze.

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How Companies Turn Your Facebook Activity Into a Credit Score

This story in The Nation explains our work challenging the way data brokers use "black box," or secret, algorithms to make scoring decisions that may violate the law and deny credit opportunities. This work was also the subject of our recent livestream event featuring Professor Frank Pasquale and his new book, "The Black Box Society." We've now posted an archive of that event, in 3 chapters on our Youtube page.

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Energy efficiency through NC SAVE$

In a number of states, energy efficiency programs have been taken out of the provenance of the utilities and turned over to independent administrators. Typically, these administrators are created by utilities commissions or legislation and governed by a board of efficiency experts. They come under yearly review to make sure they are doing their job – providing cost-effective energy savings.

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Long slashes auto rates

Insurance Commissioner Jim Long is leaving office with a bang, ordering a whopping 16.1 percent decrease in auto insurance premiums.

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PSNC, Piedmont natural gas cases could alter way rates are changed

When North Carolina natural gas customers get their November bills, they’re likely to see a slight increase due to rate changes that Piedmont Natural Gas and PSNC Energy have pending before state regulators.

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Group fails to block Duke nuke plant

Environmentalists trying to block Duke Energy Corp.'s new nuclear plant project in Cherokee County, S.C., were denied on one front today.

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N.C. to weigh alternative to Duke's Save-A-Watt

N.C. regulators have agreed to consider a proposal for an independent energy-conservation program offered by opponents of Duke Energy Carolinas’ Save-A-Watt program, which would give Duke and its customers incentives to cut the need for power.

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We're teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine antibiotics.

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