Thanks to the hundreds of thousands of emails and phone calls from you to lawmakers, agencies and corporations, consumers can count some concrete victories in 2010. We hope to see as many or more in 2011. Take a moment and look at your new rights and protections after this video highlighting some of our victories:
● Comprehensive federal financial reform legislation overhauled many aspects of the U.S. financial system, and in particular brought you a new “cop” on the financial beat looking out for you, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
● Publicity over the high fees and missing consumer protections of the Kardashian Kard (including the information you shared through your social networks) resulted in the card being pulled from the marketplace shortly after its introduction.
● Treasury Dept. chose the most consumer-friendly card with low fees and protections as the default card for paying Social Security benefits and required consumer protections on all cards that will receive direct deposit of any federal payment.
Product and Food Safety
● Passage of landmark Food and Drug Administration food safety reform legislation, the first such reforms in U.S. food safety laws since the Depression.
● USDA announced a stricter standard for salmonella and established a standard for campylobacter in chicken on the heels of a December Consumer Reports test report on chicken which found that two-thirds of all birds tested were contaminated with one or both of these pathogens. The report garnered nation-wide media attention.
● Test projects on bacteria in bagged leafy greens and chicken, and mercury in tuna, were published in Consumer Reports and received nation-wide media attention.
● Seven states banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.
● The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced it will make public its consumer complaint database, a CU recommendation.
● The Federal Trade Commission advanced CU-endorsed efforts to crack down on false claims by dietary supplements, mortgage-relief scams, and the misuse of consumers’ private online information.
● New federal regulations require all U.S. hospitals to publicly report certain hospital-acquired infections, following the lead of CU-initiated state laws.
● Activists with the Safe Patient Project were tapped to represent consumers in two national landmark meetings on hospital-acquired infections with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Health & Human Services Dept. and to give these agencies feedback on a national education campaign.
● A year-long Safe Patient Project campaign in California on the state health department’s failure to implement existing laws on medical harm prompted action. The department issued reports on healthcare worker vaccination rates and hospital infection rates so Californians can finally see how safe their local hospitals are.
● Passage of comprehensive federal healthcare reform legislation, a landmark law reforming many aspects of the U.S. healthcare system.
● Published a report detailing the accumulation of excess surpluses by Blue Cross/Blue Shield health plans at a time of record premium increases to consumers. The report helped launch our 2011 campaign to control health insurance rates.
● FCC moved forward on new rules for cell phone companies to alert customers before they exceed their limits, pointing to CU’s evidence of widespread consumer cell phone “bill shock.”
● The FCC approved the buyout NBC Universal by Comcast, a loss for consumers, but thanks to the outpouring of opposition the approval included significant restrictions on Comcast’s ability to charge competitors – and ultimately consumers – for NBC and Comcast programming.
● Defeated Prop 23, a California ballot measure paid for by two Texas oil companies that would have repealed California clean energy and greenhouse emissions laws. The effort raised nearly $21,000 from consumers across the nation, which enabled CU to call over 125,000 California voters urging them to Vote No on Prop 23 on Election Day.
● Dept. of Energy Enforcement of Energy Star Program, on recommendations of CU and acting on specific violations found by CU.