Consumer Protection

PROTECTING CONSUMER SAFETY—Toys should not be toxic or dangerous for children to play with. Our food should not make us sick. The terms for banking and credit accounts should be clear and easy to understand.

LOOKING OUT FOR CONSUMERS

Illinois PIRG Education Fund’s consumer program works to alert the public to hidden dangers and scams and to ban anti-consumer practices and unsafe products.

TROUBLE IN TOYLAND

For 27 years, Illinois PIRG Education Fund’s "Trouble In Toyland" report has surveyed store shelves and identified choking hazards, noise hazards and other dangers. Our report has led to at least 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years.

Get our tips for buying safer toys.

BIGGER BANKS, BIGGER FEES

In April, Illinois PIRG Education Fund released a report in which we surveyed more than 350 bank branches and revealed that fewer than half of branches obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers, while one in four provided no fee information at all. We also found that despite widespread stories about the “death” of free checking, free and low-cost checking choices are still widely available, if consumers shop around.

Find out how to beat high bank fees.

SEE ALL CONSUMER RESOURCES

Issue updates

Blog Post | Consumer Tips, Food, Solid Waste

How to minimize food waste this 4th of July | Danielle Melgar

Planning ahead and getting creative with leftovers reduces food waste for a fun, sustainable celebration.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB receives over 2,500 junk fee comments | Ed Mierzwinski

In response to a tidal wave of unfair marketplace practices, the CFPB asked the public to submit comments on the impact of junk fees on their lives. Some 2,500 comments later, consumers have described the pain points caused by unfair junk fees.

Cover graphic courtesy Student Borrower Protection Center, used by permission

> Keep Reading

Pages

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

Food recalls decline in 2021, but that doesn’t mean food is safer

Significantly fewer foods and beverages were recalled in 2021 than in 2020. But fewer recalls doesn’t necessarily mean food was safer last year.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

State Senators, consumer advocates: Illinois Department of Insurance should investigate car insurance overcharges

Sixteen state Senators and nine advocacy organizations sent a letter Thursday to the Illinois Department of Insurance, asking the department to investigate how much insurance companies overcharged Illinois drivers during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

> Keep Reading
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. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | US PIRG | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection

Back to school: financial literacy tips for college students, teens

During this time of year, families are thinking about the children going back to school, and for parents who are sending their kids to college, it can be a bit overwhelming. A key to addressing those concerns is making sure their teens are prepared for “adulting” -- in other words, taking care of their own lives.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Food

Food recalls: 2021 Trends and What They Mean for You

There were 270 food and beverage recalls in 2021 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That marked a 27 percent decrease from 2020. But fewer recalls doesn’t necessarily mean safer food. 

> Keep Reading
Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Food

How Safe Is Our Food?

Americans rely on a vast network of farms and businesses to provide safe food daily. But in recent years, a string of high-profile recalls ranging from romaine lettuce to millions of pounds of beef to Ritz and Goldfish crackers has called into question the system developed to ensure safe food reaches people’s plates. 

> Keep Reading
Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

For over 30 years, U.S. PIRG Education Fund has conducted an annual survey of toys to look for safety problems. This research has led to more than 150 toy recalls and other regulatory actions over the years. Our work has also helped educate the public and policymakers on the need for continued action to protect the health and well-being of children. This year, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passing, which strengthened protections against dangerous consumer products. 

> Keep Reading
Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland 2017

For over 30 years, U.S. PIRG Education Fund has conducted an annual survey of toy safety, which has led to over 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years, and has helped educate the public and policymakers on the need for continued action to protect the health and wellbeing of children.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Lead In Fidget Spinners

While lead in toys has become less prevalent in recent years, U.S. PIRG Education Fund tested several models of one of today’s hottest toys, fidget spinners, for the toxic heavy metal. Laboratory results indicated that two fidget spinners purchased at Target and distributed by Bulls i Toy, L.L.C. contained extremely high levels of lead. U.S. PIRG Education Fund calls on Target and Bulls i Toy to immediately recall these two fidget spinners and investigate how such high levels of lead were found in these toys. Also, we call on the U.S.

> Keep Reading

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, Food, Solid Waste

How to minimize food waste this 4th of July | Danielle Melgar

Planning ahead and getting creative with leftovers reduces food waste for a fun, sustainable celebration.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB receives over 2,500 junk fee comments | Ed Mierzwinski

In response to a tidal wave of unfair marketplace practices, the CFPB asked the public to submit comments on the impact of junk fees on their lives. Some 2,500 comments later, consumers have described the pain points caused by unfair junk fees.

Cover graphic courtesy Student Borrower Protection Center, used by permission

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post

Planning ahead and getting creative with leftovers reduces food waste for a fun, sustainable celebration.

Blog Post

In response to a tidal wave of unfair marketplace practices, the CFPB asked the public to submit comments on the impact of junk fees on their lives. Some 2,500 comments later, consumers have described the pain points caused by unfair junk fees.

Cover graphic courtesy Student Borrower Protection Center, used by permission

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