NCL statement on Michigan right-to-work law – National Consumers League

December 11, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, Carol McKay, (412) 945-3242,

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League has issued the following statement on the signing of a Michigan right-to-work law:

The passage of a “right to work for less money” statute in Michigan is a step backward for a state that has often led the nation in supporting workers in their fight for good wages and benefits. NCL agrees with President Obama, who stated that the attack on workers is an effort to “take away your rights to bargain for better wages or working conditions.”

Labor organizers are expecting thousands of people to arrive in Lansing, the state capitol, Tuesday for demonstrations in opposition to right-to-work legislation.

We support these workers and all working families in Michigan who are rightfully demonstrating against this odious anti-worker legislation that undermines the labor protections that working men and women have fought so long and so hard to win.


Photo courtesy AFL-CIO.

About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Need extra cash for the holidays? Beware of online payday loan offers – National Consumers League

With increased expenses around the holidays, consumers may find themselves running short of cash for other bills, and some may be considering payday loans to cover the short-term need. Thinking about a short-term loan? Better think twice.These days, a payday loan is only a mouse click away thanks to the proliferation of online payday loans. While even legitimate payday loans should only be considered as a last resort due to their extremely high interest rates, we are seeing a large number of reports about payday loan companies that are nothing but scams.

The scam works like this: A consumer in search of an online payday loan sees an ad online, on a newspaper classified page, in an email, or somewhere else. The ad guarantees a payday loan without a credit check. The consumer is directed to a Web site that looks very official and legitimate. They are instructed to enter in personal information, presumably to begin the loan application process. In some cases, the scammers have even posted fake video “testimonials” online to make the scam seem more legitimate.

Once the personal information is entered, the consumer is contacted by the alleged payday lender (in reality, a scammer) and asked to send money to cover fees “before the loan can be processed.” The scammers claim that this money is necessary to pay for things like “application fees,” “insurance,” “taxes,” or other important-sounding costs. If the victim sends the money, they are typically contacted again with another ask for additional money for other fees before the loan can be processed. This sequence may continue until the consumer catches on to the con or runs out of money.

Here are a few tips to help you spot and avoid these scams:

  1. If you are asked to pay money to get money, it’s probably a scam. While most legitimate payday lenders charge a (typically hefty) fee, this is generally assessed when the consumer repays the loan. Requests for up-front fees before a loan can be granted is a sure sign that something is fishy.
  2. If you’re asked to wire money or use put money on a prepaid card before your can get a loan, it’s a scam. Consumers report that online payday loan scammers usually ask to have the fictitious “fees” wired via Western Union or Moneygram. Increasingly, scammers are also telling victims to load funds on a prepaid card (such as a Green Dot MoneyPak) and then either send the card to the scammer or give out the access code on the back of the card. In either case, the scammer gets cash from the money order or deducts the cash from the prepaid card and the victim gets nothing.
  3. If the online payday lender says they don’t need a credit check and then asks for sensitive personal information, it’s probably a scam. Many online payday lenders advertise that they do not require a credit check or other documentation of the borrower’s credit-worthiness. However, they then require the victim to enter sensitive information such as a Social Security Number online to apply for the loan. In reality, this information is used to target the consumer with even more bogus offers, or worse.
  4. Just because an online payday lender looks legitimate doesn’t mean that it is. Online payday loans scam artists are experts at setting up legitimate-looking Web wesites, providing official-looking documentation and even creating dummy business addresses. Consumers who are unfamiliar with the company should not simply rely on these materials. Do your own due diligence by checking with state banking regulators, the Better Business Bureau, and the state corporation commission to make sure the business is legit.
  5. If you’ve been approached by or lost money to an online payday loan scam, report it! These scams defraud consumers from every walk of life every day. Scammers count on their victims being too embarrassed to report the crime. By speaking up, you can help others avoid being victims. Complaints can be reported to NCL’s Fraud Center and we will forward them to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Affordable Care Act saves consumers millions on Rx coverage, improves adherence – National Consumers League

92_ayannaBy Ayanna Johnson, Health Policy Associate

Late last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report, projecting large savings in health care as a result of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (AC) in 2010. Medicare patients have saved $5 billion in prescription drug costs since 2010. The law improves coverage, by closing the gap—the “doughnut hole” in prescription coverage— after Medicare coverage runs out.  Medicare prescription coverage maxes out at $2,930; closing the gap will save the average Medicare recipient $648.  The Department of Health and Human Services notes that from 2012-2022, Medicare patients with high prescription drug costs will save upwards of $18,000.

Critics of this provision in the ACA have stated that increasing drug coverage will encourage patients to buy their more expensive drugs and decrease the use of generics. While this is a possible scenario, helping individuals afford their medication in order to stay healthy is the primary objective for this provision. In fact, studies have shown that once coverage ends, patients stop taking their medicine—especially their more expensive prescriptions. By increasing coverage individuals can have access to both brand name and generic prescriptions at lower, affordable costs. This seems like a win-win. This provision increases medication adherence, as more individuals are able to afford their drugs.

Increasing adherence is key to lowering overall medical costs. Adhering to medicines and a treatment plan prevents conditions, like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes from spiraling out of control. Lowering the price it takes to do this is important for our health as a nation.

The report found for the first time an “offset” of prescription drug coverage—increasing drug coverage lowers overall medical spending costs. The CBO “estimates that a 1 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled by beneficiaries would cause Medicare’s spending on medical services to fall by roughly one-fifth of 1 percent.” That small savings would result in a net cost of $51 billion in providing the new provisions, instead of the $86 billion originally estimated.

This is good news for consumers and our health care system. Having the numbers from the CBO at the national level to support the widely accepted idea that spending a little more on medication will decrease overall healthcare spending, is the next step to promoting adherence initiatives.

Here at the National Consumers League we are working on a campaign to do just that. Our medication adherence campaign, Script Your Future, aims to increase awareness about the problem of non-adherence and show the benefits of taking medicine as directed. With the help of great tools like wallet cards to list medications and discuss with a pharmacist and text reminders to take medication, the problem of adherence can be addressed.

NCL statement on Hostess executive bonuses – National Consumers League

November 30, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, Carol McKay, (412) 945-3242,

Washington, DC–Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League, issued the following statement today regarding the announcement that Hostess management would be taking bonuses after laying off 18,000+ workers:

“The National Consumers League is stunned to learn that Hostess executives are awarding themselves bonuses totaling $1.8 million in the wake of management’s decision to close down the beloved and iconic Hostess brand of products and lay off 18,000+ workers.

This company has been notoriously mismanaged for years, yet management has scapegoated Hostess employees instead of taking responsibility for their own incompetence. Their behavior boggles the mind.

We at NCL are not alone in our outrage. We call upon the judge who authorized the bonuses to reconsider this disgraceful decision.”


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit