Consumer Protection

Is our food safe? What about the drugs we take? The cars we drive and the products we buy? Are the banks, credit card companies and lenders dealing fairly with us? In each case, federal agencies are charged with making sure the answer is “yes.” But examples of unsafe products and unfair practices abound in the marketplace.

For years, General Motors hid from regulators evidence that an ignition switch the company used in its Cobalts, Opels, Pontiacs, and Saturns had such a hair trigger that a light brush by the driver’s hand or knee would shut down the engine, disabling air bags and power steering. The resulting loss of control caused at least 13 fatal accidents. GM's ability to avoid detection for so many years says as much about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's weak enforcement record as anything.

Other examples abound. From tainted peanut butter to toxic drywall, to lead-laden imported toys, such instances of unsafe food, drugs, automobiles and products are all too dangerous evidence of a failed system of regulation and enforcement. Often the failure is the result of neglect – a lack of political will to spend the money required to conduct meaningful research and enforcement. Sometimes the cause is ideological: a conviction that safeguards interfere unduly with industry profits. Either way, the result is that industry is spared the costs of being accountable for unsafe production practices, shifting those costs instead to consumers in the form of injuries, illness and worse.

Below, see what CPR Members Scholars and staff have had to say about it in reports, testimony, op-eds and more. Use the search box to narrow the list.

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Toxic ignorance and the challenge for Congress

Toxic ignorance and the challenge for Congress, op-ed by Noah Sachs and Matthew Shudtz

Type: Op-Eds (June 26, 2015)
PDF: Toxic ignorance and the challenge for Congress
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Author(s): Noah Sachs, Matt Shudtz
Categories: Consumer Protection Consumer Protection Energy & Environment Energy & Environment

VW and GM scandals show why regulation matters

VW and GM scandals show why regulation matters, op-ed by Rena Steinzor and Rob Verchcik

Type: Op-Eds (Sept. 30, 2015)
PDF: VW and GM scandals show why regulation matters
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Author(s): Rena Steinzor, Robert Verchick
Tags: enforcement VW Consumer Protection
Categories: Consumer Protection Consumer Protection Regulatory Policy Regulatory Policy

Delving into GM's Crimes

Delving into GM's Crimes, op-ed by Rena Steinzor and Rob Weissman

Type: Op-Eds (Oct. 6, 2015)
PDF: Delving into GM's Crimes
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Author(s): Rena Steinzor
Tags: Consumer Protection
Categories: Consumer Protection Consumer Protection Regulatory Policy Regulatory Policy

CPR's comments on USDA FY 2017 appropriations

CPR's comments on USDA FY 2017 appropriations

Type: Legislative Testimony (March 15, 2016)
PDF: CPR's comments on USDA FY 2017 appropriations
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Author(s): Matt Shudtz
Tags: poultry
Categories: Consumer Protection Consumer Protection Workers' Rights Workers' Rights

May 4, 2016, Americans Hurt by Forced Arbitration Agreements with Big Banks, Credit Card Companies

May 4, 2016,
Type: News Releases (May 2, 2016)
PDF: May 4, 2016, Americans Hurt by Forced Arbitration Agreements with Big Banks, Credit Card Companies
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Categories: Consumer Protection Consumer Protection

Regulating Forced Arbitration in Consumer Financial Services: Re-Opening the Courthouse Doors to Victimized Consumers

Type: Reports (May 4, 2016)
PDF: Regulating Forced Arbitration in Consumer Financial Services: Re-Opening the Courthouse Doors to Victimized Consumers, CPR Paper 1604, by CPR's Martha McCluskey, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, James Goodwin and Mollie Rosenzweig, May 2016.
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Author(s): Martha McCluskey, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, James Goodwin, Mollie Rosenzweig
Categories: Consumer Protection Consumer Protection