Things are busy, here in my corner of the USA. I’m behind in reporting on what’s happening for National Consumer Protection Week.
A lot of my time has been taken up since the first of the year taking part in the Dean Ornish heart health program. It ends Wednesday. I’ll be reporting on its many benefits soon.
Activities for National Consumer Protection Week
Here are some activities the Federal Trade Commission if offering for the consumer week:
Wednesday, March 8
- (In-person event) 10am – 2 p.m. HAST: Visit the FTC table at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs NCPW Fair at the King Kalakaua Building Courtyard at 335 Merchant Street, in Honolulu, Hawaii. FTC staff will be giving out free resources on avoiding scams and identity theft.
- (In-person event) 10am – 1 p.m. PST: Visit the FTC table at the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office Fraud Prevention Fair at Mercy Oaks at 100 Mercy Oaks Drive in Redding, CA. FTC staff will be giving out free resources on avoiding scams and identity theft.
- 10 a.m. CST: Join the FTC and Texas Senior Medicare Patrol for a webinar about fraud against older adults.
- 1 p.m. EST: Join the NCPW Twitter chat (in Spanish) for advice on avoiding common scams with @laFTC. Follow the conversation by using the hashtag #NCPW2023.
- 1 p.m. EST: Call in to join the FTC and AARP Ohio for a Tele-Town Hall about how to avoid scams.
- 3 p.m. EST: Join the NCPW Twitter chat (in English) for advice on avoiding common scams with @FTC. Follow the conversation by using the hashtag #NCPW2023.
- 3 p.m. CST: Join the FTC and the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Education for a webinar on top frauds and how to avoid them.
- 5 p.m. EST: 5pm EST: Call in to the Cleveland WEWS News Channel 5 NCPW Consumer Phone Bank and speak with FTC staff and consumer advocates for advice on consumer issues. Tune in during the evening telecast to get the call-in number.
Thursday, March 9
- All Day: Watch and share Instagram Reels (in English and Spanish) from the FTC and Social Security Administration on how to avoid impersonator scams.
- 9 a.m PST: Listen in to 88.9 KNPR State of Nevada, which will feature a segment with the FTC and Nevada Consumer Affairs on how to avoid common scams and protect your identity.
- 1 p.m EST: Join the FTC for a special NCPW webinar about top frauds reported in 2022 with a special focus on how they affect older adults, and how you can protect people from scams.
- 1 p.m. PST: Join the FTC, AARP California, and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation for an interactive online conversation with experts to learn about your consumer rights and protections.
Saturday, March 11
- (In-person event) 10am-11am EST: Visit with FTC and volunteer attorneys for a Legal Advice Clinic at the Cleveland Public Library, Jefferson Branch at 850 Jefferson Avenue in Cleveland, OH. Volunteer attorneys will be available to listen to listen to consumer-related and other civil issues (non-criminal) and will then offer brief advice or referrals to useful resources. Attendees will be seen on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Check the website of the attorney general in your state, too, and other agencies and organizations for their National Consumer Protection Week activities. Here’s what Washington state is offering:
Wednesday, March 8
10 a.m – Learn about Consumer Protection in Washington State
Thursday, March 9
Noon – 1 p.m. Manufactured Housing Dispute Resolution Program
National Consumer Protection Week is worth celebrating
A thing that makes me happy about celebrating National Consumer Protection Week this year is that we don’t have an anti-consumer president in the White House. Yes, that’s right. For all the bluster that Donald Trump professed, he wasn’t for the average American. In fact he did many things that were very harmful to consumers. We’ve all heard the news reports on how the Trump administration rescinded railroad safety rules that would have improved the safety of train transportation in the country.
But among the worst proposals that Trump had was one that would have outlawed the ability of the states to have consumer protection programs. It was a harmful proposal, especially since the Trump administration cut way back on the regulatory activities of many agencies including issuing fines for wrongdoing.
Biden administration action on consumer issues
Here are some of the consumer issues that the Biden administration is working on as outlined in the president’s proclamation for National Consumer Protection Week:
- An Executive Order was issued to promote fair competition across the economy.
- The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have undertaken efforts to address anticompetitive conduct that hurts consumers and workers.
- The Biden administration is cracking down on unfair, hidden “junk fees” such as bank overdraft charges, cell phone cancellation fees, or surprise ticketing costs. Federal agencies have (1) finalized rules that will require cable and internet providers to list fees and services up front; (2) helped convince major airlines to rebook trips for free if they cancel a flight and encouraged airlines to seat children parents together at no additional cost; and (3) pushed electronics makers to let consumers choose where to get their products fixed, saving on repair costs.
- Agencies also are (1) pressing banks and credit card companies to get rid of surprise overdraft charges, bounced-check charges, and unfair late fees and proposing new rules to cut credit card late fees from $30 to $8; (2) going after student loan scams, mortgage scams, price gouging, and identity theft; (3) working to stop illegal robocalls; (4) considering new rules that would limit how much personal data companies can collect from consumers and sell to third parties; and (5) considering a rule to give consumers more control over their personal financial data.
Action consumers can take during National Consumer Protection Week
Every American has the power to stand up for their own consumer rights and to help protect their communities and loved ones.
When you have a complaint with company, be sure and work to get it resolved. If you aren’t able to get a satisfactory solution, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office in your state, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In addition, work to be an alert, informed consumer. Compare prices before you make purchases. Ask retailers if they’ll match the lower prices of other companies. Subscribe to Consumer Reports and Consumers’ Checkbook magazine.
Keep up on consumer news by visiting the websites of Consumer Reports, Public Citizen, the Environmental Working Group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Consumer Federation of America, and others.
Make a budget and be sure you have an adequate emergency fund. Save for retirement. Get helpful financial information from websites such as Kiplinger, Money magazine, Her Money, Clark Howard, and Michele Singletary.
And, sign up for my weekly newsletter Helpful Money Tips for You at https://tinyurl.com/makeyourmoneywork.
Best wishes to us all. Corporations have so much money and power, it’s difficult make progress, especially in today’s difficult economy.