Consumer Federation of America has joined a broad coalition of consumer, privacy, civil rights, and anti-monopoly groups in a campaign to ban “surveillance advertising.” This is the practice of tracking and profiling individuals and groups, and then targeting them for ads based on their behavior, relationships, and other personal information. We’ve long been concerned about this practice.

Way back in 2007, in advance of a workshop the Federal Trade Commission held on “Ehavioral Advertising,” we joined several other organizations in comments urging the agency to take action to protect consumers, including creating a “Do Not Track List.” …

This Tuesday, March 23rd, consumers in Washington State won a sweeping victory. Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency rule banning the use of credit scores in pricing auto, home, and renters’ insurance for the next three years.

Why does this matter? Because insurance companies use credit score as a factor in setting insurance premiums, especially auto insurance premiums, and they charge consumers much higher rates if they have fair or poor credit. This rule will prevent a sharp increase in premiums for consumers who have been harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and who would see their premiums rise…

Consumer Federation of America, along with partner groups Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Reports, and members of Stop Foodborne Illness, submitted a petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling for the agency to develop enforceable standards to reduce foodborne infections caused by Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry.

“For too long, the regulatory system for protecting consumers from these food safety risks has been broken,” said Thomas Gremillion, CFA Director of Food Policy. …

By: Susan Grant (Consumer Federation of America), Kevin Mitchell (Business Travel Coalition), John Breyault (National Consumers League), & Kurt Ebenhoch (Travel Fairness Now)

In a Feb. 5 op-ed, David Heffernan, a former outside counsel for Airlines for America, the airlines’ lobbying organization in Washington, and Robert Kneisley, a former associate general counsel for Southwest Airlines, took pains to defend an anti-consumer policy that was stealthily released the day after Thanksgiving in the waning days of former U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s tenure.

At issue is a Transportation Department (DOT) rule issued on Nov. 27, 2020, that limits, by definition, what…

As the Washington State Legislature considers legislation to ban the use of credit scores in auto insurance rate setting, CFA released new data earlier this month demonstrating the harmful impact on consumers of this rate-setting practice. Specifically, the CFA analysis shows that good drivers in Washington State pay 35% more on average for auto insurance if they have Fair credit histories rather than Excellent credit, and those with Poor credit pay 79% more on average.

CFA’s analysis uses data from Quadrant Information Services, LLC to highlight the premium hikes imposed by 10 of Washington State’s largest insurers. …

By: Susan Grant, CFA Director of Consumer Protection & Privacy

If you’ve ever had trouble cancelling an online service, you may be interested in a study the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) recently conducted that documents the sophisticated methods Amazon uses to keep consumers who signed up for free trials of Prime from leaving. Apparently the process is the same when consumers try to cancel their regular Prime subscriptions. The NCC tells me that since releasing the report it has received tips from many consumers about similar problems with other companies. …

FTC issues orders to nine social media & video streaming services, demanding information on how they collect and use children’s data

Responding to a year-old request from Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and 30 other advocacy groups, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced last month that it had issued orders under Section 6(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act to nine social media and video streaming companies, demanding that they provide information about how they collect, use, and present children’s personal information, their advertising and user engagement practices, and how their practices affect children and teens. The companies — Amazon.com, Inc., ByteDance Ltd. (which operates the short video service TikTok), Discord Inc., Facebook Inc., Reddit Inc., Snap Inc., Twitter Inc., WhatsApp…

The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging, and states are re-imposing restrictions and closing businesses to prevent health care systems from being overwhelmed. This will have a big impact on auto insurance. More stay at home orders and shutdowns mean that consumers are going to be overcharged for auto insurance unless state Insurance Departments act.

What is going on? The pandemic and the resulting economic downturn mean that tens of millions of Americans are staying home more and driving less. Vehicle miles traveled is way down, which in turn means that auto crashes are well below normal, and that means insurance…

By Carolyn Pemberton, Senior Program Manager, America Saves

The ability to save money to begin building wealth is not equally attainable across income levels and racial groups. The COVID Pandemic of 2020 has exposed how wide the gap is between individuals with savings and individuals without savings. …

In another setback to ensuring that Texans get appropriate auto insurance refunds due to COVID-related reductions in claims and driving, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) released misleading information to public officials in November asserting an unsupported claim that drivers have seen $1.4 billion in overcharges returned to their wallets.

Five consumer groups, including CFA, sent a letter to TDI and Texas legislators highlighting the erroneous and misleading information that TDI has used to justify their failure to provide premium relief to consumers. In their letter, the groups point out that the $1.4 …

Consumer Federation of America

Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is a non-profit organization advancing the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.

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