Coalition Efforts

Consumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see “More Information” at the end of each article.

 
 

Postings

Grant FHA-backed borrowers the full forbearance relief they are legally entitled to
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), coalition advocates urged HUD to give Federal Housing Administration-backed borrowers who start forbearance plans after July 1, 2021, access to a full 12 months of forbearance, in line with policies from the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). In doing so, HUD would rightfully recognize the continued economic turmoil from the global pandemic. HUD’s current decision unnecessarily limits forbearance for borrowers accessing plans after June 30, 2021, to only six months of relief instead of the standard 12 months pursuant to the CARES Act.

It’s time for the Department of Education to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in higher education
Groups wrote a joint letter to the Department of Education (ED) sharing their priorities for its negotiated rulemaking process that aim to protect student loan borrowers and taxpayers from waste, fraud and abuse. Advocates asked the ED to include substantial student and borrower representation among its negotiators, and to strengthen safeguards against predatory practices by for-profit institutions by reinstating strong borrower protection regulations, like the gainful employment and borrower defense rules.

Advocates join in support of legislation that targets predatory banking fees
Consumer advocates joined together in support of the Overdraft Protection Act of 2021. Banks earn billions every year from so-called overdraft protection programs—this legislation would set important limits on how often fees can be charged, improve transparency and disclosure of fees, and stop banks from automatically enrolling customers in the first place.

More can be done to protect consumers and patients during pharmaceutical mergers
The pharmaceutical industry has become increasingly concentrated in recent years, often resulting in higher prices and reduced choice for consumers. Increasing evidence shows that consumers are paying higher prices for prescription drugs and losing out on access and choice because of less innovation by drug companies. Advocates argue that the Federal Trade Commission’s current approach to monitoring pharmaceutical mergers, and its historically pro-merger policy, fails to fully protect American consumers and patients.

Comprehensive privacy protections needed at home before transatlantic deal is passed
Consumer Action joined over 20 organizations in urging the Biden administration to pause negotiations on a new transatlantic data transfer agreement until Congress passes comprehensive privacy legislation and reforms surveillance laws. Until the United States addresses privacy protections for personal data, concerns about data transfers to the United States will remain, and data flow agreements are likely to be invalidated.

Groups contest major postage increase planned by USPS
In response to the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) proposed postage price increase, a coalition of trade associations and public and private companies joined Consumer Action in urging members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security to oppose the plan to hike USPS postage prices for most mail by 7%. The coalition also called on legislators to direct a new review of the postal rate-setting system before the increases take effect.

Protect retirement savers from risky private equity investments
Consumer Action joined allies in a letter to the Department of Labor asking the department to ensure that “defined contribution plan fiduciaries”—those responsible for ensuring that employer-based retirement plans feature safe and appropriate investments—undertake balanced consideration of the benefits and risks before they allow private equity funds to be offered to retirees.

FinTech users deserve strong data use protections
Groups sent a joint letter to the Consumer Financial Protection asking the agency for strong rules to ensure that consumers are protected when their account data is shared with, accessed by or used by third parties, such as financial technology (FinTech) mobile apps and account aggregation services.

Climate change threatens vulnerable residents’ housing opportunities
Groups write to the Federal Housing Finance Agency with concerns that climate risk mitigation efforts could cause inadvertent harm to communities already vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Limit ways robocallers can evade TRACED Act
The TRACED Act was passed by Congress to protect consumers from robocalls and to give the Federal Communications Commission enforcement authority over illegal calls. Led by the National Consumer Law Center, groups pushed back at some industry requests for exemptions to its new rules giving consumers opt-out rights.

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