Media Center

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

FTC Fails to Rein in Unrepaired Recalled Used Cars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 16, 2016 || 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

National Consumer Law Center Advocates Express Disappointment, Concern for Consumers
(BOSTON) Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finalized consent orders allowing cars to be sold as certified pre-owned (CPO) and touted as inspected and approved even though the cars have serious, unrepaired safety defects subjecting them to recall. The consent orders, which resolve actions the FTC brought against GM and the Lithia and Koons auto dealership chains, allow the sale of used cars as CPO despite the existence of dangerous safety defects if the dealer simply adds a blanket statement that the cars may have an open recall.
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National Consumer Law Center Advocates Applaud New Rules Designed to Better Protect Online Students from Predatory Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 16, 2016 || Contacts: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Abby Shafroth (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); 617.542.8010

(BOSTON) Today the U.S. Department of Education announced final rules to better protect online students and taxpayers from predatory and illegal actions by for-profit colleges. Expanding protections to online students is critical given the explosive growth into the sector by many of the same institutions that have been under government scrutiny for misconduct, such as Bridgepoint and the now-closed ITT.

“Distance online education is the fastest growing segment of higher education, with 1.2 million students recently enrolled in online education programs offered by out-of-state schools that participate in the federal student loan program,” said Abby Shafroth, an attorney for the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. “Yet online education has remained the Wild West of the higher education world, with millions of federal student aid dollars at stake, few laws and no sheriff protecting students or taxpayers. We commend the Department of Education as this is a critical step toward ensuring that online students have the same rights and protections as students attending brick-and-mortar schools.”

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Consumer and Small Business Advocates Oppose OCC’s Plan to Offer Fintech Lending Charters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 2, 2016 ||  Contacts: Lauren Saunders (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 202.595.7845) or Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 617.542.8010)

Innovation Should Not Come at the Expense of Consumer Protection, Evade State Anti-Predatory Lending Laws

(WASHINGTON) Today, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced its intention to offer national charters to financial technology firms, which could severely undermine state oversight and state consumer protection laws that protect consumers from abusive financial products and practices. The OCC is accepting comments on the announcement through January 15, 2017.

Before the OCC’s announcement, 49 organizations sent a letter to the Comptroller expressing “strong opposition to new federal nonbank lending charters that would enable chartered entities to avoid state interest rate caps, other state consumer protection laws, and state oversight, putting consumers and small businesses at risk.”

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Advocates Applaud Bill to Give Fake Account Victims Their Day in Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 1, 2016 || Contacts: Lauren Saunders (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 202.595.7845) or Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 617.542.8010)

Bill would prohibit forced arbitration of claims over bank and credit card accounts opened without consent

(WASHINGTON) Advocates at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) applauded a bill introduced today in the Senate and House that would prevent banks from blocking victims of bank fraud from court by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman Brad Sherman. The Justice for Victims of Fraud Act of 2016 comes on the heels of efforts by Wells Fargo Bank to prevent courts from hearing claims brought by customers who have sued the bank over phantom bank accounts opened in their names without consent. Wells Fargo filed the motion to force arbitration in U.S. District Court in Utah on November 23, according to Reuters.

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Statement Regarding Nomination Of Mnuchin As U.S. Treasury Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NOV. 30, 2016 || Contacts: Alys Cohen (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. or 617.542.8010)

"We are deeply concerned that President-elect Trump has nominated Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and hedge fund manager, for Treasury Secretary," said National Consumer Law Center attorney Alys Cohen. "Mr. Trump promised the American people he would 'drain the swamp,' but his nominee to lead the Treasury Department has a track record of profiting by foreclosing on older homeowners and homeowners in communities of color. We call on Mr. Mnuchin, if confirmed, to use his leadership to help Main Street recover from the economic crisis caused by Wall Street, not to benefit the 1%."

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PACE Energy Efficiency Mortgages Still Risky Despite New Department of Energy Guidelines

Contacts
National Consumer Law Center: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 617.542.8010) or Lauren Saunders (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 202.595.7845)
Americans for Financial Reform: Jim Lardner (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 202.466.1854)
Consumer Federation of America: Barry Zigas (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 202.387.6121)
Bet Tzedek Legal Services: Allison Lee (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 323.939.0506)
Public Counsel: Charles Evans (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 213.385.2977 ext. 188)
Public Law Center: Leigh Ferrin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 714.541.1010 ext. 290)
Elder Law & Advocacy: Carolyn Reilly (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 858.565.1392)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18, 2016

Stronger, Enforceable Protections Needed to Stop Predatory Loans

(WASHINGTON) New best practices guidelines released today by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) mortgages could encourage states and localities to begin to address some of the growing problems and potential for abuse in this market. The new guidelines are a significant improvement from earlier guidelines but far stronger, enforceable protections are needed to ensure true energy savings and to protect homeowners, according to national and state advocates at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), Americans for Financial Reform, Consumer Federation of America, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Public Counsel, Public Law Center, and Elder Law & Advocacy.

“Home energy efficiency is important, and well-designed programs like the federal Weatherization Assistance Program can be a cost-effective way to promote energy independence and help low-income homeowners save on energy bills. But PACE mortgages lack consumer protections, have few checks to ensure that energy savings are real and cost effective, and are inappropriate for homeowners who may be eligible for free or lower cost programs,” said Charlie Harak, senior energy attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.
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Consumer Advisory: Beware Holiday Shoppers Deferred Interest Promotions Promise 0% Now But Can Cost Big Bucks Later

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2016 || 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


(BOSTON) As Black Friday approaches, kicking off the busy holiday shopping season, the National Consumer Law Center warns shoppers of a lurking danger in the local mall or big box store: deferred interest promotions on credit cards. These promotions entice consumers with promises such as “no interest for 12 months” or “0% interest until December 2017,” but there is a hidden time bomb at the end.

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NetSpend Plans Evasions of CFPB Prepaid Rules to Preserve $80 Million in Overdraft Fees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 28, 2016 || Contacts: NCLC: 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. or 617.542.8010),  Main Street Alliance: Steve Rouzer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 850.603.9216)

“Small business” cards, prepaid cards with “checks” would have overdraft fees

(WASHINGTON) The prepaid card provider NetSpend, a division of Total System Services (TSYS), is planning changes to its prepaid card problems to evade new rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and avoid losing $80 million in overdraft fee revenues. “The CFPB just adopted rules to limit harmful overdraft fees on prepaid cards, and it is outrageous that NetSpend is already plotting ways to circumvent rules meant to rein in overdraft abuses,” said Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC).

Earlier this month, the CFPB issued final rules protecting prepaid cards. The rules, which go into effect on October 1, 2017, do not prohibit overdraft fees, but prepaid cards would need to comply with ability to repay rules and could not charge fees in the first year that exceed 25% of the credit extended, among other protections.

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