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NCLC in the News

Select media clips. Journalists interested in speaking with an expert at the National Consumer Law Center should contact Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 617.542,8010).

Press Releases

NCLC Report Finds Discretionary Pricing and Racial Disparities in Auto Add-on Products Sold by Car Dealers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 11, 2017 || Contacts: John Van Alst (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); (617-542-8010)

Nota de Prensa en Español

A Groundbreaking First Look, Based Upon a National Data Set, Reveals What Dealers Pay for Add-ons and What They Charge Customers; Advocates Urge Federal and State Action

Download the report, 19 charts, and tips for consumers at: http://bit.ly/2kmubox 

BOSTON – Most consumers would be surprised to learn how car dealers prey on them with sucker pricing of add-on products, such as service contracts and window etching, which can add thousands of dollars to the price of a car. For example, one customer in Kentucky who paid $299 for window etching never knew that another customer at the same dealership paid $1 for the same product. But now, for the first time, NCLC unlocks the door on this hidden market in Auto Add-Ons Add Up: How Dealer Discretion Drives Excessive, Arbitrary, and Discriminatory Pricing, an analysis of a national data set of three million add-on products sold from September 2009 through June 2015. Key findings: add-ons lead to unreasonably high and inconsistent pricing, and Hispanics pay higher prices than non-Hispanic customers for the same product.

”Our analysis demonstrates the negative consequences of opaque and inconsistent pricing of auto add-on products and the urgent need to bring transparency and consistency to this market,” said John W. Van Alst, director of the National Consumer Law Center’s Working Cars for Working Families Project and the report’s primary author. “Our findings also reveal the troubling practice of dealers charging Hispanic customers more for the same product.”

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Consumer Watchdog Curbs Unaffordable 300% Payday Loans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 5, 2017 || NCLC CONTACTS: Lauren Saunders (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); (617) 542-8010
 

State interest rate caps remain the strongest and most important consumer protection

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today issued a final payday loan rule that takes a significant step to limit lenders from making unaffordable loans and should disrupt the heinous payday loan debt trap. But state interest rate caps remain critical, advocates at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) emphasized.

The CFPB rule limits payday lenders’ ability to put families into a vicious cycle of debt by adopting the common sense requirement that lenders consider a borrower’s ability to repay and by restricting the number of unaffordable back-to-back loans,” said Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center. “These protections are an important step forward and should mean fewer families will face financial devastation,” she added.

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National Consumer Law Center Joins Legal Fight for Student Borrower Protections against Predatory Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 || | Contacts: Abby Shafroth (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); (617) 542-8010

U.S. Department of Education Urged to Implement Critical Rule for Defrauded Students

(BOSTON) Today, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) and 17 civil legal aid and nonprofit organizations filed an amicus brief in two lawsuits challenging the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) unlawful delay of a 2016 rule designed to protect student loan borrowers from school fraud, abuse, and abrupt closures. The two cases, Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Education and Bauer v. DeVos, are brought respectively by 18 states and the District of Columbia, and two former students of the for-profit New England Institute of Art. The amicus brief explains the abuses the Department’s Borrower Defense Rule was created to address and the harm to student loan borrowers that even a temporary delay will cause.

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On Anniversary of 7th Amendment, More than 400 Professors in All 50 States Urge Congress Not to Take Away Our Day in Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

Letter Opposes Effort to Block Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rule that Restores Access to the Courts Eliminated through Fine Print Forced Arbitration Clauses

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, on the anniversary of Congress’s passage of the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1789, a group of 423 leading law school, university, and college professors from all 50 states urged Senators to uphold the Constitution and preserve consumer’s rights to their day in court, in a letter sent to the U.S. Senate opposing efforts to block the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new arbitration rule.

“Class action lawsuits are an important means of protecting consumers harmed by violations of federal or state law. Class actions enable a court to see that a company’s violations are widespread and to order appropriate relief.... Individual arbitrations are not a realistic substitute for class actions... The U.S. legal system depends on private enforcement of rights,” the professors wrote.

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Housing and Consumer Groups Statement on California A.B. 1284’s PACE Loan Ability-to-Repay Provisions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 15, 2017

Numerous Loopholes Leave Homeowners and California Communities at Risk

Today, the California Assembly is scheduled to vote on Assembly Bill 1284, a wide-ranging bill to regulate aspects of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans. The bill in part addresses how PACE administrators should assess a homeowner’s ability to repay the loan, how the administrator should evaluate the value of the property, and other underwriting requirements regarding the property and property owner.

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Statement of National Consumer Law Center Staff Attorney Chi Chi Wu on the Equifax Data Breach that Affected 143 Million Consumers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 || Contacts: Chi Chi Wu (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); 617.542.8010

The massive Equifax data breach is one of the largest in our country’s history, affecting half of the United States population and nearly three-quarters of consumers with credit reports. Chances are, this affects YOU. Plus, the stolen information is the mother lode of sensitive personal data that can be used for identity theft: Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and in some cases, driver’s license numbers. Also, was highly revealing credit reporting account information stolen, such as student loan or mortgage payment account numbers and payment histories? This information could be used for phishing schemes or other fraud.
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Tens of Millions of Consumers Will Benefit from New Rules for Medical Debt on Credit Reports

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2017 || Contacts: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Jenifer Bosco (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Chi Chi Wu (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); 617.542.8010

New Model State Law Can Help Consumers Manage Medical Debt and Unfair Collection Practices

BOSTON − Effective September 15, 2017, the three largest credit reporting agencies−Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion−will no longer report medical debts that are less than six months past due on credit reports and will also remove medical debts if the debt is later paid by insurance. The two changes are the result of a settlement between attorneys general in 31 states and the “Big Three” credit reporting agencies in a separate settlement with the New York Attorney General.

“Medical debts are a huge portion of the negative information in credit reports, making up about half of debt collection black marks appearing on these reports and affecting one in five consumers with a credit report, or 43 million Americans,” noted National Consumer Law Center attorney Chi Chi Wu, “With credit reports as a gatekeeper to affordable credit, employment, housing, and insurance, these changes should help tens of millions of consumers.”

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NCLC's Attorney Chi Chi Wu to Testify on Sept. 7 before House Financial Services Committee on Six Anti-Consumer Bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 || Contacts: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Chi Chi Wu (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); 617.542.8010

Pending Legislation Would Roll Back Key Consumer Protection Laws and Drastically Reduce Accountability for Company Wrongdoing

Full testimony available before or by 10am EDT on September 7, 2017: https://financialservices.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=402266 

BOSTON – On Thursday, September 7, National Consumer Law Center attorney Chi Chi Wu will testify before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee to oppose six bills that would severely harm consumers during the hearing Legislative Proposals for a More Efficient Federal Financial Regulatory Regime.

“Once again, anti-consumer forces are working overtime to deprive ordinary Americans of rights and protections that were hard-fought and hard-won,” said Wu. “These bills not only hurt consumers, they ultimately have a negative impact on the marketplace by, for example, removing incentives for credit bureaus to ensure accurate information in credit reports.

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