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

Californians Facing New Identity Theft Threats Study Says

California has the highest number of identity theft complaints in the nation, and the average cost to victims is skyrocketing.

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State Senate OK’s price scanner bill

With just two senators present, the state Senate approved a bill Monday morning that food stores in Massachusetts have been pushing unsuccessfully for a decade.

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Senate bill brings some big changes to farm policy.

WASHINGTON –  Briefly putting election-year politics aside, the Senate on Thursday moved toward strong approval of legislation assuring that farmers hit by bad times will be protected and that millions of others hurt by the bad economy won't go hungry.

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News Release | Student PIRGs | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed, Student Debt

Banks Skim Millions in Fees from Student Aid Using Debit-Card-Linked Student IDs

Washington, D.C. – Over 9 million students are at risk for increased educational debt, due to bank-affiliated student debit cards that come with high fees, insufficient consumer protections, and few options. Financial institutions now have affinity partnerships with almost 900 campuses nationwide, grafting bank products onto student IDs and other campus cards to become the primary recipient of billions in federal financial aid to distribute to students.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

The Campus Debit Card Trap | Student PIRGs

We just released a report, The Campus Debit Card Trap: Are Bank Partnerships Fair To Students, that shows banks skim millions in fees from student aid using debit-card-linked student IDs. 

“Campus debit cards are wolves in sheep’s clothing,” observed Rich Williams, The Student PIRGs Higher Education Advocate and report co-author. “Students think they can access their dollars freely, but instead their aid is being eaten up in fees.”

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