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

Beware Holiday Shoppers: Deferred Interest Promotions Promise 0% Now, but Can Cost Big Bucks Later

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 13, 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

(BOSTON) As Black Friday approaches, the National Consumer Law Center warns holiday 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 2018,” but there is a debt trap at the end.

Read more ...

Consumer Advocates Press Congress on Access to Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NOVEMBER 9, 2017 || CONTACTS: National Consumer Law Center: Jan Kruse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (617) 542-8010; or Stephen Rouzer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (202) 595-7847); National Association of Consumer Advocates: Christine Hines (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Washington, D.C. - Nearly 125 consumer advocates from around the country will meet with their members of Congress on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 as part of Consumer Justice Lobby Day, sponsored by the National Consumer Law Center and the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

Among other issues, advocates will focus on:

Forced arbitration: Last month, Congress blocked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule that would have stopped financial giants like Wells Fargo and Equifax from preventing people who were cheated from joining together to have their day in court. The fight over the rule and the outrage over Congress’s action have galvanized people to push for reform.

“Congress should pass the Arbitration Fairness Act that would bar big business from using fine-print contracts to strip consumers, workers and small businesses of their day in court, said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. “The public court system should be available to all, including consumers cheated by big banks and payday lenders, employees sexually harassed at work, students defrauded by for-profit schools, older Americans mistreated at nursing homes, or small businesses undermined by unfair competition tactics.”
Read more ...

Consumer Groups Oppose Credit Unions’ Attempts to Robocall, Text Message Customers Without Their Consent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 7, 2017 || CONTACTS: Margot 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

The Credit Union National Association Has Petitioned the FCC for an Exemption from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the National Consumer Law Center filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) request for exemptions from the TCPA’s prior-express-consent requirements for robocalls and text messages made by or on behalf of credit unions to their members’ wireless phone numbers.

“Credit unions pride themselves on their ability to forge lasting relationships with their members,” said Margot Saunders, senior counsel at the National Consumer Law Center. “If the information to be imparted by credit unions is so important and valuable to their members, the members will consent to receive it—eliminating any necessity for an exemption. Almost 60 million robocalls are now made monthly by financial institutions just to collect consumer debt; allowing credit unions to make calls without consent would add significantly to this number.”

Read more ...

National Consumer Law Center Attorney Chi Chi Wu to Testify on October 25 before House Financial Services Committee on Equifax Data Breach

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 24, 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

How a Culture of Impunity Led to One of the Worst Data Breaches in U.S. History and Needed Industry Reforms

Full testimony of NCLC attorney Wu available before or by 2PM EDT on October 25, 2017: https://financialservices.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=402472

To interview Ms. Wu, please contact Jan Kruse at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (617) 542-8010.

BOSTON – On Wednesday, October 25, National Consumer Law Center attorney Chi Chi Wu will testify before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee during the hearing Examining the Equifax Data Breach on the reforms that Congress should adopt to protect the 145.5 million American consumers harmed by this massive breach of sensitive personal data, including Social Security numbers and dates of birth. Ms. Wu will also discuss how the Equifax hack relates to the issues of errors in credit reports that she has worked to address for many years and the vote Congress may take any day now on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule.

Read more ...

Senate Votes to Repeal Americans’ Day in Court; Gives Wall Street a Huge Win

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 25, 2017 || 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

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Last night, the Senate voted 51-50, with Vice President Pence breaking the tie, to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule, which prevented financial giants from using fine print clauses to prohibit people from banding together in court when companies violate the law.

National Consumer Law Center Associate Director Lauren Saunders made the following statement:

“Last night, 50 United States Senators and the Vice President of the United States showed their disregard for the American system of justice and the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution by voting to take away everyday Americans’ right to take widespread financial disputes to court. Having our day in court does not mean that we always win. It means that when big banks or payday lenders abuse thousands of people, we have the right to a hearing in a public setting by a neutral judge who must listen to the evidence on both sides, and make a decision consistent with the facts and the law that can hold up to review.

Read more ...

Language Preference Question in Uniform Mortgage Application Will Help Borrowers Gain Access to the Mortgage Market

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 24, 2017 ||  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.); 617.542.8010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Consumer Law Center applauded the decision of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced last Friday to add a preferred language question to the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application. The uniform application is used by all originators of loans to be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and sets an industry standard that is followed by most lenders. Consumer advocates have pushed for the addition of a question regarding preferred language on the application as a means of ensuring that borrowers who have limited English proficiency can self-identify and obtain access to available in-language services, both in the loan application process and when a borrower encounters a hardship at a later point and needs help to avoid foreclosure.

Read more ...

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.”

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...