Small Claims Court Action Center
Fuel Buyers Group
NYPIRG’s cutting edge consumer work focuses on protecting consumers from unfair, deceptive and harmful practices and dangerous products. We work to expand the useful information available to consumers so they can make the best decisions to meet their needs and strive to increase marketplace competition to reduce consumer costs. Our agenda spans the consumer protection issue spectrum, including banking, insurance and other financial products and services; privacy and cyber security; product and facility safety; public health; improving access to the justice system; and providing direct consumer counseling.
2010 - NYPIRG leads the fight to ban the sale of children’s refillable bottles and pacifiers that contain Bisphenol A, a toxic chemical that is a synthetic hormone. NYPIRG’s work results in a ban on the use of lead in motor vehicle wheel weights, used to balance wheels. NYPIRG campaigns for the creation of the soon-to-be established federal Consumer Protection Finance Bureau as part of the federal Wall Street and bank industry overhaul.
2008 - NYPIRG strengthens the state’s net metering law, which encourages consumers to generate wind and solar power on-site by allowing them to sell excess electricity back to the utility companies. NYPIRG works with statewide coalition New Yorkers for Responsible Lending to pass to key consumer protection laws, the Exempt Income Protection Act and the Foreclosure Prevention and Responsible Lending Act.
2007 - NYPIRG launches the CyberStreetSmart.org website, which helps people avoid identity theft, phishing, work-at-home scams and social networking cons.
2005 - NYPIRG supports legislation that requires private and public agencies to notify consumers when there has been a breach of financial or private databases that puts them at an increased risk of identity theft. Additionally, NYPIRG successfully lobbies for legislation that requires the state to post pharmacies’ prescription drug prices on the Internet, making it easier for New Yorkers without insurance coverage for prescription drugs to save money.
2002 - NYPIRG successfully lobbies in support of legislation that curbs predatory lending practices.
2000 – NYPIRG’s 18-year fight to require tobacco companies to meet cigarette fire safety standards results in the first-in-the-world law to reduce cigarette fires, the leading cause of fire deaths in New York and the nation.
1998 - NYPIRG successfully fights for a law allowing consumers locked in a medical dispute with their insurers to appeal to impartial health experts. Consumer protections for hearing aid purchases are dramatically overhauled and strengthened. NYPIRG helps lead the fight to prevent mutual life insurance companies from selling some $13 billion in policyholder assets.
1996 - NYPIRG lobbies successfully for a law requiring banks to provide safety measures at all ATMs.
1995 - NYPIRG wins consumer victories prohibiting merchants’ use of social security numbers written on the backs of checks as proof of consumers’ identification; extension of New York’s anti-ticket scalping law; and allowance for a three-day “cooling off” period after making certain credit card purchases via phone.
1994 - NYPIRG adds key consumer protections to a banking deregulation bill. The bill protects consumers who lease cars, sets up a credit card information hotline to help consumers compare credit cards, and requires that banks provide inexpensive “lifeline” bank account services.
1992 - NYPIRG champions creation of the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) designed to provide a consumer voice to utility decision making.
1991 - NYPIRG supports legislation that makes it easier for consumers to collect small claims court judgments. NYPIRG supports passage of a law that streamlines state oversight of physicians, creates a consumer oversight panel and requires increased consumer access to disciplinary information.
1990 - NYPIRG works to expand credit card and lemon law protections.
1989 - NYPIRG victories include a two-year prohibition of the sale of irradiated foods, a law restricting cigarette smoking in public places, a two-year extension of the Item Pricing Law, and the Maternity Information Law.
1988 - NYPIRG secures passage of a federal law limiting the number of days that financial institutions can place holds on checking account funds. NYPIRG also helps organize a veto of legislation that might have increased milk prices.
1987 - NYPIRG fights against an effort to end credit card grace periods.
1984 - NYPIRG supports passage of the nation’s first mandatory Seat Belt Law.
1983 - NYPIRG victories include the Lemon Law, which requires manufacturers to replace or refund the money for certain defective vehicles. NYPIRG helps create a small claims court for homeowners to challenge their property tax assessment.
1981 - NYPIRG secures passage of a Utility Bill of Rights to provide users with various protections. NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign helps win the first of several five-year multi-billion dollar programs to rebuild the state’s mass transit infrastructure.
1980 - The Private Right of Action Law, which allows consumers to sue businesses for false advertising, is passed with NYPIRG’s support.
1979 - The Truth in Testing Law, requiring disclosure by standardized test manufacturers, and Small Claims Court reforms are enacted with NYPIRG’s support.
1978 - NYPIRG defeats product liability legislation that would have limited consumers’ rights to financial compensation for injuries caused by defective products.
1977 - NYPIRG victories include the Generic Drug Law, which allows the substitution of generic for brand name pharmaceuticals; the Plain English Law, which requires that all contracts for goods and services under $50,000 be written in non-technical language; and the Home Insulation and Energy Conservation Act (HIECA).
1976 - NYPIRG wins passage of the Item Pricing Law, which requires that most foods sold in supermarkets bear price tags, and establishes Small Claims Court Action Centers to counsel consumers on their legal rights.
1975 - The Hearing Aid Sales Practice Act, which requires prescriptions for the sale of hearing aids to prevent consumer fraud, is adopted.
Child Safety: NYPIRG regularly releases two child safety reports: Trouble in Toyland and Playing it Safe. These reports serve to educate parents and child-care providers about potential play hazards. Our work has led to toy recalls, playground repairs, and legislation to make toys and playgrounds safer. (read more)
Product Safety: Since its inception, NYPIRG has focused on protecting consumers by preventing injuries and deaths. NYPIRG’s successes in the area of product safety include New York being the first state to enact a cigarette fire safety law, banning the use of toxic lead in the weights used to balance motor vehicle wheels, and requiring reverse mechanisms for automatic garage door opening systems.
Small Claims Court Action Center: For more than 30 years, NYPIRG has offered counseling to New Yorkers when they need help navigating the small claims courts or have consumer problems, including complaints regarding the purchase of shoddy goods or services, deceptive business practices, and a landlord’s failure to reimburse for repairs or return a security deposit. This service is free of charge and is not a legal service. (read more)
Cyber Street Smart: NYPIRG launched the Cyber Street Smart project in the fall of 2007. The projects centerpiece is an informative website: www.cyberstreetsmart.org. This project and website are designed to arm consumers with information they need to protect themselves from cyber scams and frauds including identity theft, phishing, work-at-home scams and more.Financial Services: NYPIRGs financial services work has focused on making banking and insurance services affordable and accessible for all New Yorkers. In recent years, banks have raised fees, created new fees, and made it tougher for their customers to avoid paying these high fees. (read more)