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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

The hidden costs of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’

U.S. PIRG Education Fund reviewed data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and found that the most common complaints about “Buy Now, Pay Later” plans include hidden fees, high interest rates and problems when it comes time for debt collection.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

Dark Patterns: A step-by-step guide to protect your privacy on your phone

Apps and social media are a part of everyday life. They help us stay connected to the world around us. But it can be easy to overlook the risk involved with making personal information accessible online, especially when that information can be recorded, bought and sold by the companies running the apps.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund

‘Failing the Fix’ scorecard grades Apple, Google, Dell, others on how fixable their devices are

Consumers often don’t know which products will last and they’ll be able to fix, or which manufacturers make fixable devices and support Right to Repair. A new scorecard by Illinois PIRG Education Fund, “Failing the Fix,” ranks the most popular cell phone and laptop makers for consumers who seek to purchase easily repairable products – especially those from companies who do not fight to prevent Right to Repair.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund

‘Hog-tied’ and fed up: New report shows dealership consolidation makes farmers’ lives harder

Many farm equipment manufacturers prevent farmers from accessing the software tools they need to fix their modern tractors. That forces farmers to turn to corporate-authorized dealers for many problems, which can lead to high repair bills and delays that can put their crops—and their livelihoods—at risk. While farmers have always relied on local dealerships for help, more and more those dealerships have been bought up by large chain networks, further reducing competition and exacerbating the problems farmers already face due to repair restrictions.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

New analysis: Automatic voter registration has boosted Illinois’ statewide voter roll

Voter registration applications have increased by 37% at Driver Services offices of the Secretary of State since the implementation of automatic voter registration (AVR), according to analysis released Wednesday by Illinois PIRG Education Fund. Since AVR’s implementation in July 2018, the system has helped register or update the voter registration of 1.3 million voters. 

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

STATEMENT: New tip guide reveals how to spot counterfeit merchandise when shopping for gifts online

As we get deeper into the 2021 holiday season, online shoppers need to beware of counterfeit products, from knockoff sports merchandise to fake-branded perfumes or electronics that aren’t genuine.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Antibiotics

Medical professionals urge McDonald’s to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply chain

More than 125 medical professionals organized by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund sent a letter to McDonald’s Thursday urging the company to meet its 2018 commitment to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply chain. The coalition delivered the letter at the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week to stress the urgency of taking action to stop overusing our life-saving medicines in agriculture. Otherwise, the drugs may no longer heal sick people. 

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

New holiday cooking safety guide offers tips on how to avoid unhealthy air pollution from gas stoves

The holiday season often entails spending a lot of hours in the kitchen cooking. As millions of Americans prepare holiday meals to share with their families, a new guide from U.S. PIRG Education Fund offers tips on how to minimize unhealthy air pollution from cooking with gas in your home. Without proper precautions, too much exposure to a gas stove can lead to an unnecessary and invisible health risk, since gas stoves can cause elevated levels of indoor pollution that would exceed legal limits for outdoor air.

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News Release | Solid Waste

STATEMENT: Apple concedes to Right to Repair movement, reverses ban on selling parts to consumers

Apple reversed its longstanding policy against selling spare parts, providing repair instructions, and making repair software tools available to customers.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

With home heating bills on the rise, new reports show harms of botched Peoples Gas pipe replacement program

With colder weather imminent and rising gas commodity prices predicted to increase Chicago gas utility bills by 35% this winter, two new reports demonstrate that Chicago is facing a home heating affordability crisis, driven by the mismanaged, misdirected Peoples Gas pipe replacement program. 

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Report | Illinois PIRG | COVID-19

Open Safe Illinois - June 29th Scorecard

COVID Exit Strategy, a nonpartisan group of public health and crisis experts, has been tracking the progress states have made towards meeting the CDC recommended benchmarks states should reach before reopening their economies. On Monday, June 29th, only three states were meeting these metrics, earning a “Green” rating – down from six a week earlier. Currently, Illinois is meeting half of the benchmarks, and is rated “Red” by COVID Exit Strategy due to a 2-week trend of rising case numbers, a metric the group gives particular weight.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Putting Consumers First

U.S. PIRG Education Fund, the Student Borrower Protection Center and Consumer Action have released a report recommending that  CFPB should use the full extent of its authority to take immediate action to strengthen its consumer complaint tool, hold companies accountable for providing complete and timely responses to consumers, and leverage consumer complaints related to the pandemic to support oversight and regulatory action to protect consumers.

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Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund

Electric Buildings

To prevent air and water pollution and the worst impacts of global warming, America must move toward meeting its energy needs with 100 percent renewable energy. Getting there will require that we get the most out of every bit of energy we use – and that we end the burning of fossil fuels in our homes and commercial buildings. 

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Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

The State of Recycling In Illinois

Across the United States, our recycling system is faltering. Local governments from Jackson, Mississippi to Sierra Vista, Arizona are ending their curbside recycling programs. Many other municipalities have reduced the list of materials they will accept.  Even when recycling does end up in a blue bin, it may be immediately landfilled or burned --until earlier this year roughly half of Philadelphia's collected recycling was being sent to incinerators.  These are not isolated incidents but are increasingly our new normal. What went wrong?

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction V

The Chain Reaction V report grades the top fast food and fast casual chanins on antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains. 

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Blog Post

How to reduce your foodprint for your 2022 New Year’s resolution | Danielle Melgar

Many of us use this time of year to reflect on what we want to do differently in the year ahead. One resolution that could really help the planet? Reducing your foodprint.

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Blog Post

Why it’s hard to repair our stuff and how that could change in Illinois | David J. Lee

My mom, a tailor and small business owner, fixes clothes so that it doesn’t need to be thrown away. This is possible because the tools for clothing repair are available to anyone and  there is little that clothing manufacturers can do to prevent independent repairs. Anybody with the will has the option to repair their clothes or to hire a tailor. This is not true in industries like consumer electronics, farm equipment, and life-saving medical devices. Customers are withheld the option to repair the things they own because the equipment is intentionally designed to be impossible to repair. 

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

10 steps Whole Foods can immediately take to reduce single-use plastic | Juliana Clejan

The national chain prides itself on being a green grocer, but in reality, their promises fall short. Here are 10 steps that Whole Foods should take – many of which have already been taken by other retailers – to be more sustainable and ultimately be an industry leader once again.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

How I got my finances in order | Mike Litt

Even with the knowledge I’ve gained working as a consumer advocate for several years, getting my finances in order has been a work in progress. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

How I started my estate and end-of-life planning | Mike Litt

Until recently, I did not have estate and end-of-life planning in mind, but it was the natural next step in my quest to be a responsible adult, with a nudge from the existential threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund

goans paid 43% more to heat their homes this past winter compared to the year before, a result of surging gas prices and the expensive Peoples Gas pipe replacement program, according to a new report released on Friday. While higher gas prices played the largest role in the year-over-year spike in bills, the pipe replacement program has been slowly raising home heating bills for years. For example, over the first three months of 2022, the average Peoples Gas customer paid just under $40 for the pipe replacement program through a surcharge on bills. Over the same period in 2018, average customers paid $16 for the surcharge.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

After decades of danger and more than 200 infant deaths, President Joe Biden signed the  Safe Sleep for Babies Act into law on Monday.

News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund

The auto insurance industry is attempting to block the publication of data documenting its windfall profits in Illinois during the early waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the risks associated with driving plummeted but auto insurers did not lower premiums or offer rebates in proportion to the reduction in risk. In a letter sent last week to the Illinois Department of Insurance, three auto insurance associations challenged the Department’s March  call for information documenting insurer profits, losses, and refunds given to consumers between 2019 and 2021. Consumer advocates estimate that auto insurers overcharged Illinois drivers by about $900 million in 2020.

Blog Post

Today U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC launched a campaign to urge Columbia Sportswear to eliminate toxic PFAS in their products and supply chain by 2024. The campaign will engage everyday consumers through a petition drive and mobilize the public impacted by PFAS contamination.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC

 

U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) launched a campaign on Tuesday calling on outdoor gear and apparel brand Columbia Sportswear to phase out the use of PFAS in its products and supply chains. Last month, the company received low marks in a scorecard report released by the advocacy groups. The report found that Columbia Sportswear has failed to adopt policies that ban PFAS chemicals or provide up-to-date, publicly available information on any ongoing efforts to phase out these toxic chemicals from their products.

Solid Waste

PIRG hosts webinar with MythBusters' Adam Savage on Right to Repair

Our national network and the Right to Repair team organized a summit featuring keynote speaker Adam Savage from MythBusters. He shared his thoughts with us on the movement and we discussed our current progress on the Right to Repair campaign.

 

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