Blog Posts By:

Ed Mierzwinski,
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Teva is the latest pharmaceutical manufacturer or distributor to reach a tentative settlement with states, tribes and other jurisdictions for its role in the long-running opioid crisis, which was epitomized by the billionaire Sackler family's efforts to reduce their own liability by its efforts to hide most of the family’s billions as part of the corporate bankruptcy of opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma, which the family controlled.

One year ago, President Biden signed an executive order promoting competition and opposing practices of powerful special interests that raise prices for consumers, impede innovation, prevent nascent competitors from succeeding and deny consumers marketplace choices. 

As passengers swelter through a summer of airline delays and cancellations, the U.S. Department of Transportation asked U.S. PIRG to present on whether requiring airlines to provide more information earlier in the search process would increase consumer choice and further the recommendations of the President's Executive Order on Competition.  

Screenshot from slide deck features 1929 "Offical Airline Guide." Public domain courtesy Smithsonian Institution via archive.org.

The NYTimes reports that "When Customers Say Their Money Was Stolen on Zelle, Banks Often Refuse to Pay." We did a report last year on consumer complaints about Zelle and similar apps.

CFPB director Rohit Chopra today announced a request for information about your experiences with your bank. “Customers of large banks should not have to run through an obstacle course to get a straight answer about their account. We are taking steps to ensure the legally enshrined right to obtain basic customer service.”

Cover image via Flickr by Stevan Sheets, WWC Fall Family Fest, Some rights reserved.

Apple is joining the parade of competitors in the more and more crowded "Buy Now, Pay Later" space, with its version of "pay in four," called Apple Pay Later.

Wow. The FTC's consumer chief gave a powerful speech this week that essentially said "privacy notice and choice" are not enough in a surveillance-based economy. "When we’re expecting consumers to have to choose between participating in the digital economy and protecting their privacy, we’re not giving them a choice at all – what we’re really describing is coercion."

Cover image by g4||4is "Privacy. The "i" is a lock" via Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Last year, the Supreme Court eliminated the FTC's key authority to disgorge ill-gotten gains from corporate wrongdoers and use the money to compensate their victims. It was an unfortunate decision that benefited a convicted payday lender who fleeced thousands of victims and will allow brand name Big Pharma firms that block lower-cost generic competitors and other wrongdoers to escape billions of dollars in restitution. The Senate Commerce Committee is voting tomorrow on a bill to restore FTC powers.

-- Cover graphic of FTC Building via Flickr, by Boston Public Library, Some rights reserved.

In a new report, we question whether “Buy Now Pay Later” plans make “no fees or interest!” claims that may not be true. We find that you might be billed for canceled or backordered items, but neither the merchant nor the BNPL provider may take responsibility. You can file a comment in the CFPB’s BNPL inquiry until March 25th. Get our BNPL tips.

Cover image: Courtesy iStock by B4LL, used under license

Yesterday’s announcement of a new report finding stupefying amounts of medical debt on consumer credit reports continues the Biden CFPB’s focus on identifying and responding to consumer pain points caused by a financial marketplace that doesn’t always work for consumers. The CFPB has your back!

Photo courtesy Americans for Financial Reform, All rights reserved.