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Reports on Consumer Protection
The reports below represent a sample of Frontier Group’s work on Consumer Protection. For more of our reports on this and related topics, please visit www.PolicyArchive.org. Full archive coming soon.
Medical debt collectors often employ aggressive tactics and attempt to collect debt from the wrong customers – putting consumers' credit records at risk. Medical debt accounts for more than half of all collection items that appear on consumer credit reports. A review of 17,701 medical debt collection complaints submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shows that problems with medical debt collection are widespread and harm Americans across the country.(April 2017)
Through the first three quarters of 2016, 626 large banks reported collecting $8.4 billion in revenue from overdraft and NSF fees, an increase of 3.6 percent over the same period in 2015. American consumers should look to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which has already enforced overdraft regulations and returned millions of dollars to consumers, to take new action to prevent unfair overdraft fees.(December 2016)
Net energy metering has been instrumental in the rapid growth of solar energy in the United States, making it more affordable for people to “go solar” and enabling solar panel owners to earn fair compensation for benefits they provide to other users of the electricity grid and to society at large. The 11 studies reviewed in Shining Rewards demonstrate that the value created by solar energy – in avoided energy losses, reduced need for capital investment in the grid and reduced greenhouse gas emissions – is often higher than the compensation solar panel owners earn through net metering.(June 2015)
Despite strong standards for toy safety established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), toy companies continue to sell potentially dangerous toys. Trouble in Toyland explains the types of hazards that toys may present to children, and identifies specific examples of those hazards found on store shelves. This year's report includes numerous choking hazards and five toys with concentrations of toxics exceeding federal standards. The continued presence of these hazards in toys highlights the need for constant vigilance on the part of government agencies and the public to ensure that children do not end up playing with unsafe toys.(December 2014)
Despite the benefits to consumers brought by enactment of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (Credit CARD) Act of 2009, consumer complaints about credit cards remain common. Credit Cards, Consumer Complaints examines the more than 25,000 complaints Americans filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about credit cards between November 2011 and September 2013 to identify the companies receiving the most complaints and the most frequent problems consumers are experiencing in the credit card marketplace.(March 2014)
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established in 2010 in the wake of the worst financial crisis in decades. Its mission is to identify dangerous and unfair financial practices, to educate consumers about these practices, and to regulate the financial institutions that perpetuate them. This is the fifth in a series of reports that review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state-by-state level. In this report we explore consumer complaints about debt collection, with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with debt collectors and documenting the role of the CFPB in helping consumers successfully resolve their complaints.
One in 20 Americans has an error on one or more of their credit reports that could affect the prices they pay for financial products. Big Credit Reports, Big Complaints - the third in a series of analyses of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Consumer Complaint Database - documents the frequent problems consumers experience with credit reports, as well as the major credit bureaus' responses to consumer complaints. It shows that the CFPB complaints process has helped thousands of consumers fix erroneous information on their credit reports, obtain the free annual credit reports to which they are legally entitled, and obtain other forms of relief from major credit bureaus.(November 2013)
Private student loans (PSLs) are typically far more risky and expensive for consumers seeking a way to pay for college than federally-backed student loans. Private student loans, like credit cards, generally offer variable interest rates that are higher for those borrowers with the least means. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Consumer Complaint Database sheds light on the problems borrowers face with private student loans and enables the public to evaluate which lenders and servicers receive the most complaints. Private Loans, Public Complaints is the second in a series of reports examining patterns in complaints to the CFPB about various sectors of the financial services industry and how those complaints are resolved.(October 2013)
Established in 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) helps protect consumers from dangerous and unfair practices in the marketplace for financial services. Addressing consumer complaints is a major part of the CFPB's mission, and the agency's Consumer Complaint Database is a rich source of information about the challenges consumers face in the financial marketplace. Big Banks, Big Complaints is the first of a series of reports examining patterns in consumer complaints to the CFPB, focusing specifically on complaints about bank accounts and services.(September 2013)
Consumers often have little knowledge of, or control over, how companies with which they do business share their personal information. In 2003, California enacted the first-of-its-kind “Shine the Light” law, which gave consumers tools to learn about sharing of their personal information. Still in the Dark reports on California consumers’ experiences with using the law to find out about the sharing of personal information and concludes that both companies and policy-makers need to do a better job of protecting consumers’ privacy.(December 2007)
In December 2004, Chicago-based Exelon Corporation announced plans to acquire Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), the last remaining New Jersey-based energy company that hasn’t been taken over by a large out-of-state corporation. Consolidation of Power analyzes the risks this deal poses to consumers in New Jersey’s deregulated electricity market—who depend upon vigorous competition between energy suppliers to get a fair deal for reliable service.(November 2005)
Federal regulation riddled with loopholes has left large bank conglomerates and other financial institutions with too much leeway to share consumers’ private information and too little responsibility for the consequences. Financial Privacy in the States documents the growing concerns that Americans have about financial privacy, presents a survey of state laws that have helped fill regulatory gaps in the financial privacy sphere, and provides an estimate of the economic burden consumers currently bear as a result of inadequate privacy safeguards.(February 2004)
The Northeast blackout of 2003 showed yet again that today's cumbersome, centralized power grid linked to fossil fuel-fired and nuclear power plants is a costly, unreliable and environmentally destructive anachronism. After the Blackout, a paper issued three weeks after the blackout cut power to 50 million people in the U.S. and Canada, distills the lessons of the blackout and calls for the creation of a decentralized, resilient and consumer-focused electric system that taps the nation’s ample potential for energy efficiency, clean renewable power, and distributed generation.(September 2003)