Consumer Action Network

Don't Get Ripped Off

Our economy needs to be fair to consumers in order to function. While a company may make a short-term profit from ripping off consumers or putting an unsafe product on the market, it's not good for anyone in the long term. 

After Wall Street practices brought down the entire U.S. and parts of the world economies, Congress finally stepped up in July 2010 and created the Student PIRG-backed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new agency that will act as a counterbalance to the banks and ensure that the credit cards, mortgages, and student loans that consumers use are safe and easy to understand. When you have a complaint about a bank or credit card company, you can call on the new CFPB.

Our consumer program works to protect consumers by:

  • Alerting the publice to hidden dangers, scams, and unsafe products
  • Educating consumers about the choices available by conducting price surveys of various products and services available to students in an effort to allow them to the make the best choices for themselves.
  • Educating consumers about their rights in the marketplace by producing consumer guides to help people navigate the marketplace.
  • Advocating for change by working to build the support it takes to pass consumer protection legislation in our states and in D.C.

As students, we're particularly vulnerable to some specific consumer issues:

Latest Updates

Congress Approves Wall Street Reform!

The bill reins in Wall Street and protects consumers, investors, and taxpayers from further financial meltdowns. The centerpiece of the reform legislation is the establishment of the new, independent the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect consumers of financial products, including private student loans.

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Risking Our Future Middle Class

Young Americans face “lasting damage” from the dual crises in the financial sector and in personal finance, making it urgent that Congress pass strong financial reform legislation.

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Characteristics of Campus Fair Cards

In March, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund released The Campus Credit Card Trap,[i] reporting the findings of a major survey of student attitudes toward the marketing of credit cards on college campuses. This follow-up paper outlines the recommended characteristics (terms and conditions) that credit cards marketed to college students should have to be considered “fair” to college students and other young people.

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Campus Credit Card Trap

This study is an in-person survey of a diverse sample of over 1500 students, primarily single undergraduates, at 40 large and small schools and universities in 14 states around the country conducted between October 2007 and February 2008. It analyzes how students pay for their education, how many use and how they use credit cards and, as an important goal of the survey, their attitudes toward credit card marketing on campus and whether or not they support principles to rein in credit card marketing on campus.

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