Consumer Protection

Is our food safe? What about the drugs we take? The cars we drive and the products we buy? Are the banks, credit card companies and lenders dealing fairly with us? In each case, federal agencies are charged with making sure the answer is “yes.” But examples of unsafe products and unfair practices abound in the marketplace.

For years, General Motors hid from regulators evidence that an ignition switch the company used in its Cobalts, Opels, Pontiacs, and Saturns had such a hair trigger that a light brush by the driver’s hand or knee would shut down the engine, disabling air bags and power steering. The resulting loss of control caused at least 13 fatal accidents. GM's ability to avoid detection for so many years says as much about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's weak enforcement record as anything.

Other examples abound. From tainted peanut butter to toxic drywall, to lead-laden imported toys, such instances of unsafe food, drugs, automobiles and products are all too dangerous evidence of a failed system of regulation and enforcement. Often the failure is the result of neglect – a lack of political will to spend the money required to conduct meaningful research and enforcement. Sometimes the cause is ideological: a conviction that safeguards interfere unduly with industry profits. Either way, the result is that industry is spared the costs of being accountable for unsafe production practices, shifting those costs instead to consumers in the form of injuries, illness and worse.

Below, see what CPR Members Scholars and staff have had to say about it in reports, testimony, op-eds and more. Use the search box to narrow the list.

The Truth About Torts: Closing the Courthouse Door

In recent years, efforts to rein in excesses of corporations have run head-long into an assault on individuals' right to bring suit against manufacturers whose products or activities cause them harm. This push for what its backers call “tort reform,” has been driven by a seemingly endless stream of thinly fact-checked anecdotes about frivolous lawsuits and by a brazen effort to blame the rising costs of health care on malpractice lawsuits. CPR’s Member Scholars have conducted extensive research on the implications of "tort reform," and in a series of reports have debunked most of industry’s claims about the need for such measures.

Type: Reports (Jan. 1, 2019)
Read Online
Joint Letter to Members of Congress from the Clean Budget Coalition urging passage of remaining FY19 appropriations bills without "poison pill" ideological policy riders

Joint Letter to Members of Congress from the Clean Budget Coalition urging passage of remaining FY19 appropriations bills without "poison pill" ideological policy riders, November 13, 2018.

Type: Legislative Testimony (Nov. 13, 2018)
Read PDF
September 26, 2018, New Report Highlights Importance of Civil Courts in Securing a Fair, Inclusive Economy for All Americans.

September 26, 2018, New Report Highlights Importance of Civil Courts in Securing a Fair, Inclusive Economy for All Americans.

Type: News Releases (Sept. 26, 2018)
Read PDF
Civil Justice in the United States: How Citizen Access to the Courts Is Essential to a Fair Economy

Americans depend on our civil courts to keep the economy on a fair and firm foundation, but a decades-long campaign to limit access and tamp down awards to injured parties has left courts with diminished power. In an era of rising economic insecurity and inequality that has left many individuals and communities struggling to overcome disadvantages beyond their control, we need legislators and policymakers at all levels of government to take action to promote greater access to justice.

Type: Reports (Sept. 19, 2018)
Read PDF Read Online
Author(s): Sidney Shapiro, Martha McCluskey, Thomas McGarity, Karen Sokol, James Goodwin
A Real, Not Faux, Transparency Proposal for Regulatory Science

"No matter how many times the word, 'transparency,' is repeated to characterize" a Trump administration proposal on the use of science in regulation, "its effects would reverse progress," write Rena Steinzor and Wedny Wagner on The Regulatory Review's pages.

Type: Op-Eds (Aug. 1, 2018)
Read Online
Author(s): Wendy Wagner, Rena Steinzor
Joint Letters to Food Safety Inspection Service re poulty plant line speeds.

Joint Letters to Food Safety Inspection Service re poulty plant line speeds. CPR and 11 other organizations write to oppose requests from four poultry processors (Ozark Mountain Poultry, Peco Poultry, Pilgrim's Pride, Gerber Poultry) for waivers that would allow them to operate their evisceration lines at speeds that pose health and safety risks to workers and consumers. July 31, 2018. 

Type: Letters to Agencies (July 31, 2018)
Read PDF
Laurie Ristino's testimony to House Committee on Small Business on regulation and agriculture.

Laurie Ristino's June 21, 2018, testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business on regulation and agriculture, June 21, 2018.

Type: Legislative Testimony (June 21, 2018)
Read PDF
Author(s): Laurie Ristino
Deconstructing Regulatory Science

Writing for The Regulatory Review, Rena Steinzor and Wendy Wagner observe that "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt recently opened another front in his battle to redirect the agency away from its mission to protect human health and the environment. This time, he cobbled together a proposed rule that would drastically change how science is considered during the regulatory process."

Type: Op-Eds (June 19, 2018)
Read Online
Author(s): Wendy Wagner, Rena Steinzor
Joint Letter to the National Academies on IRIS Process
Joint Letter to the National Academies on IRIS Process
Type: Letters to Agencies (Jan. 30, 2018)
Read PDF
Author(s): Matt Shudtz
The House Recently Sided with Big Banks Over Consumers

The House Recently Sided with Big Banks Over Consumers, op-ed by Martha McCluskey

Type: Op-Eds (Aug. 5, 2017)
Read PDF
Author(s): Martha McCluskey

Advanced Search Filters

Reset Filters