Delta and American ending change fees another victory for consumers

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) today applauded Delta Airlines and American Airlines for their decisions to end ticket changes fees. The decision, prompted by United Airlines’ decision on Sunday to end change fees, comes after nearly a decade of advocacy by NCL and other consumer organizations to put an end to such outrageous fees.

While the end of change fees at the Big Three airlines is a victory for consumers, the airlines continue to collect billions of dollars in add-on fees for services such as baggage, seat reservations, and early boarding. In addition, low-cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier and smaller airlines like JetBlue, Hawaiian, and Alaska continue to charge exorbitant change fees.

The following statement is attributable to National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

Following United’s lead, Delta and American have taken the right step for their customers by ending change fees. Consumers often need to change a ticket reservation due to circumstances beyond their control. We don’t think they should be penalized to the tune of hundreds of dollars when life’s uncertainties interfere with travel plans.

While Delta has committed to ending change fees permanently and American has agreed to also end change fees on some international flights, more needs to be done to ensure that change fees are consigned to the dustbin of aviation industry history. The commitment to not charge change fees should be included in all three airlines’ contracts of carriage, the legally binding document that underpins each ticket. Without this action, we fear that the airlines will simply slide back into their old ways when the economy rebounds from the COVID-19 crisis or when a new CEO takes over.

Congress should also continue to push for legislation like the FAIR Fees Act, which will promote transparency and fairness in the air travel marketplace for all consumers, not just customers of the biggest airlines. NCL will continue to advocate for such common-sense consumer protection legislation.

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About the National Consumers League (NCL)

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 www.nclnet.org.

NCL commends two GOP senators who will oppose Beck nomination to lead consumer safety agency

June 22, 2020

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers (NCL) League greatly appreciates the principled stance of two GOP senators who have stated publicly that they cannot support Dr. Nancy Beck for the Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). One of those senators, Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), holds a critical seat on the committee of jurisdiction over the CPSC. That committee will vote either to send her nomination to the full Senate or not.

“Dr. Nancy Beck’s record as it relates to PFAS chemicals, as well as her responses to my questions and the questions of other senators at yesterday’s Commerce Committee hearing have led me to conclude that she is not the right person to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which heard from Dr. Beck at her nomination hearing this week.

“I do not believe that Dr. Nancy Beck’s views on chemical safety, including on PFAS substances and asbestos, align with the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s mission,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said in a statement.

Republicans currently hold 53 Senate seats. If two more Republicans announce their opposition, the party would lack a majority to confirm Beck, assuming all Democrats and independents who caucus as Democrats oppose her.

PFAS Concerns

Concerns about Beck’s responses on PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) and asbestos were evident during Tuesday’s Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee nomination hearing. Beck promised senators to champion policies “supported by objective and transparent science.”

Beck’s previous position as a political appointee in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and her work for the American Chemistry Council raised concerns.

The Commerce panel won’t schedule a vote on Beck’s nomination for at least two weeks to allow for members to ask additional questions for the record, a Republican committee aide said.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Commerce Committee, also will vote against Beck’s nomination; Cantwell asked Beck a number of probing questions, as did Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

Democrats, environmental, and consumer groups have criticized Beck’s nomination to lead the commission, citing her consistent actions to slow or block banning dangerous chemicals and advancing the interests of the chemical industry.

The following letters were sent to the Senate Commerce Committee’s Chairman Roger Wicker and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, opposing the nomination of Nancy Beck to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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About the National Consumers League (NCL)

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 www.nclnet.org.

Consumer groups: Proposed DOT rules will undermine agency’s ability to protect passengers

May 28, 2020

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832 

Washington, DC—Consumer groups today called the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) proposal to modify how it protects passengers from unfair and deceptive acts and practices in the air travel marketplace “fatally flawed” and urged the agency to abandon its rulemaking. In comments filed with the agency, the National Consumers League and Consumer Action questioned why the Department would begin such a far-reaching rulemaking, which it apparently did at the request of the nation’s largest airline lobbying group.

“The proposed rules, formulated at the behest of the airline lobby, would not benefit consumers,” said John Breyault, NCL vice president of public policy, telecommunications, and fraud. “If adopted, they would give airlines even greater incentives to engage in the kinds of anti-passenger practices—like leaving passengers stuck on the tarmac for hours on end—that Congress intended the DOT to prevent.”

The DOT’s proposed rules (“Defining Unfair or Deceptive Practices,” Docket No. DOT-OST-2019-0182), would also require the agency to overcome burdensome hurdles before any new enforcement actions or consumer protection rulemakings are initiated.

DOT’s enforcement activity is at the lowest level in a decade. Last year, the DOT initiated the fewest number of enforcement actions (9) and the second-lowest amount of civil penalties ($2.2 million) since 2010. Compare this to the $1.4 billion in baggage fees that the eleven biggest U.S. airlines collected in the fourth quarter of 2019 alone. The groups’ comments questioned how such metrics could square with the airline industry’s portrayal of the DOT as a consumer protection agency run amok.

“We understand that the airlines are facing severe economic headwinds due to COVID-19,” said Linda Sherry, Consumer Action’s director of national priorities. “That should be no excuse for the DOT to cave to industry pressure and abandon its critical consumer protection role in the air travel marketplace.”

The organizations’ full comments are available here.

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneering 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 www.nclnet.org.

 

NCL expresses concern about Trump Administration’s NBPP rule for 2021

May 26, 2020

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832 

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization, expresses concern about the Trump Administration’s Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters Rule for 2021.

The following statement is attributable to NCL’s Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll across the country, consumers should not be subjected to additional obstacles when trying to access the care they need. We are therefore deeply troubled by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decision to permit health plans to use accumulator adjustment programs in its Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters Rule for 2021.

This is a step in the wrong direction at a time when consumers are struggling to make ends meet. Under these programs, health insurers are not required to count manufacturer cost-sharing assistance toward patients’ annual deductibles, even when no medically appropriate generic equivalent is available. Many patients typically rely on very specific treatments that have no generic or other alternative, resulting in already high out-of-pocket spending. Removing this cost-sharing assistance will force those patients to pay thousands of dollars more in unexpected costs at the pharmacy. These new costs could push some to forego those medications, leading to worsened health outcomes. This could compromise medication adherence and will lead to increased health care costs over time.

Given the significant financial pressure this will place on patients and the negative impact it could have for our health care system as a whole, we ask that HHS reconsider the reversal of its original protections against these programs. Any subsequent course of action should seek to take the burden off of consumers. Employers and insurers must recognize that this is not the time to create barriers to care and refrain from implementing accumulator adjustment programs in 2021.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneering 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 www.nclnet.org.

 

NCL: Annual in-office eye exams help diagnose potential problems

May 4, 2020

Contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League (NCL) has long recommended an annual, in-person eye exam as part of consumers’ annual health and wellness routines. An eye examination with an eye doctor ensures not only correct eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions, but also the opportunity for important preventive care as the eyes are a window into our overall health. An eye doctor, whether a primary eye care doctor of optometry or an ophthalmologist, can diagnose potentially hundreds of conditions during an exam, including diabetes, cancer, and macular degeneration. Through an eye exam, these doctors can catch an illness or disease early and treat it right away, making this care a critical part of our preventive care toolbox.

But now with COVID-19 keeping many of us at home, companies claiming to offer at-home vision tests are ramping up their marketing, despite the fact that there is no U.S. Food and Drug Administration- (FDA) approved at-home device that people can use to self-conduct a vision assessment, let alone a full eye examination. These devices have not been proven to even provide an accurate vision prescription. Consumers need to be wary of products that mistakenly claim that their at-home devices can provide an eye exam or a vision prescription and should instead consult their eye doctors who are available to help provide safe solutions.    

NCL applauds state attorneys general for taking action and the media for publishing articles about the dubious effectiveness and potential dangers that at-home vision tests or devices present. It’s been important to tell consumers to be aware of false marketing promises.

As states begin to reopen health care access, eye doctors across the country are beginning to safely provide routine eye health examinations once again. Patients looking to schedule their annual eye examinations or update their prescriptions should contact their eye doctors, who are employing protocols to protect everyone’s health during this public health emergency.  

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing out the best in many companies across our country, there are those few who are taking this opportunity to mislead and misinform the public. NCL wants to remind consumers to be aware and understand that there’s no substitute for an annual, in-person comprehensive eye exam or for the doctor-patient relationship that’s at the heart of healthy outcomes, especially when it concerns our precious eye health and vision. When it comes to your eyes, you don’t fool around!

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneering 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 www.nclnet.org.

 

2020 Champion LifeSmarts student teams announced by National Consumers League

April 28, 2020

Student competitors best in states in national consumer literacy education / scholarship program

Contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) has announced the 2020 Champion student teams that took first place in their states’ LifeSmarts 2019-2020 competitions and have earned a place at the next National LifeSmarts Championship. LifeSmarts, a consumer education competition that challenges teens in grades 9-12 about personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities, is a 26-year-old program sponsored by NCL.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 National LifeSmarts Championship was cancelled, but NCL is celebrating the teams of students who came in first in their states and would have competed for the 2020 national title. Due to the students’ success this year, all state champion and special Wild Card teams have qualified to compete at the 2021 National LifeSmarts Championship, which will be held in Cincinnati April 17-20, 2021.

“We are so proud of these students from across the country, who beat out thousands of other teens in order to take their state titles,” said LifeSmarts Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “We look forward to coming together next spring to finish out the competition and determine the 2020 National Champion team.”

LifeSmarts is an education and scholarship program run by the Washington, DC-based National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy organization. It competitively tests high school students’ consumer and personal finance knowledge. LifeSmarts is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and in partnership programs with student leadership programs FBLA, 4-H, and FCCLA.

Long-time Indiana-based coach Diane Slaven, an instructor from Franklin County High School, was named the 2020 LifeSmarts Coach of the Year. In the words of the students who nominated Slaven:

Coach Diane Slaven and team in 2019“Mrs. Slaven sees LifeSmarts as an organization that teaches students things that they will need in their lives, that they aren’t necessarily exposed to in school. That is the reason why she is so invested and has given back to LifeSmarts as a coach for so many years. Mrs. Slaven is dedicated to the success of each student, not only in LifeSmarts but in our lives as well. Mrs. Slaven has led many teams to National Competitions throughout the years and has not failed to highly motivate and prepare each team. I think this says a lot about how caring and dedicated she is. She juggles the duties of LifeSmarts along with being department head of the business department. This year Mrs. Slaven is retiring, and is so deserving of this great honor due to everything she has given to us, and LifeSmarts throughout the years.”

In the 26 years that LifeSmarts has been educating high school and middle school teens on consumer issues, it has grown dramatically, with more than 3 million consumer questions answered at LifeSmarts.org in the online competition during the 2019-2020 program year.

“NCL’s LifeSmarts program is allowing us to rear a generation of consumer-savvy teenagers who often outsmart their parents on issues related to avoiding fraud, credit and debt, and complicated healthcare decisions,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg.

To learn more about the program, contact NCL’s Lisa Hertzberg at lisah@nclnet.org.

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About LifeSmarts and the National Consumers League

LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League. State coordinators run the programs on a volunteer basis. For more information, visit: www.lifesmarts.org, email lifesmarts@nclnet.org or call the National Consumers League’s communications department at (202) 835-3323.

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 www.nclnet.org.

National Consumers League statement on lack of airline passenger protections in COVID-19 relief bill

March 26, 2020

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832 

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League, America’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, today called the Senate’s failure to include consumer protections for airline passengers in the COVID-19 relief bill a missed opportunity to protect the flying public. The bill, which passed the Senate on a 96-0 vote and appears headed toward passage in the House of Representatives, does not contain the passenger protections, supported by consumer groups, that were in Speaker Pelosi’s proposed bill.  

The following statement is attributable to Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League: 

Airlines are canceling flights by the hundreds, leaving consumers who have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on planned vacations and other travel high and dry. We are seeing disturbing reports that those customers, whose flights were canceled through no fault of their own, are being given the run-around by the airlines when they try to get a refund. A one-year flight voucher is of no use to consumers who don’t know when the current COVID-19 outbreak will subside.  

In spite of this, the Senate approved a COVID-19 relief that did not require even the most basic of passenger protections of the airlines. While we applaud Congress for putting checks into the hands of the most vulnerable consumers and protecting the livelihood of millions of airline workers, it should have done more to protect the passengers who are the lifeblood of the industry. It is likely that this will not be the last time that the airlines come to Congress asking for a taxpayer bailout due to the COVID-19 outbreak. NCL will continue to press our elected representatives to ensure that consumers’ needs are not left unaddressed in the next relief bill.” 

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneering 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 www.nclnet.org.

NCL praises AG Barr for crackdown on COVID-19 scammers

March 25, 2020

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832 

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League (NCL) is applauding efforts by the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General William Barr to crack down on a wave of scammers and hackers trying to capitalize on the COVID-19 outbreak by ordering U.S. attorneys offices across the country to investigate and prosecute “all criminal conduct related to the current pandemic.” NCL greatly supports the move to make this a priority.

NCL operates a fraud prevention and education program, Fraud.org, working with law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Canada to track trends in fraudulent activity. NCL also runs the Alliance Against Fraud, a coalition of nonprofits, government, and businesses dedicated to fraud awareness, prevention, and supporting criminal prosecution of fraudulent business practices. The League also works to advocate for science- and evidence-based claims about healthcare, foods, and dietary supplements.

As Barr noted earlier this week, “[i]n particular, there have been reports of individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online and engaging in other forms of fraud, reports of phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“AG Barr is right; we’re seeing an upsurge in phishing emails purporting to be from public health organizations offering information on the coronavirus outbreak,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “During this time of vulnerability and uncertainty, consumers shouldn’t be left to fend for themselves in determining whether the claims they are seeing are true. We are pleased that the Trump Administration is taking the risks of scammers capitalizing on this global crisis seriously.”

In his letter, the Attorney General also pointed to recent reports about “malware being inserted onto mobile apps designed to track the spread of the virus.” Last week, an Android app called “COVID-19 Tracker App” surfaced. It’s actually a piece of ransomware designed to lock down access to a consumer’s phone.

“NCL continues to work to fight fraud, protect consumers, and collaborate with law enforcement to track and prosecute those who prey upon our citizens,” said NCL Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud John Breyault. “Now more than ever, consumers need allies and watchdogs on their side to help protect them from predatory opportunists.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneering 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 www.nclnet.org.

National Consumers League statement on airline consumer protections in Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act

March 24, 2020

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832 

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League, America’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, today called on leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to support the consumer protection provisions in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act,” (H.R. 6379) the COVID-19 relief legislation introduced by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY). These provisions would prohibit airline price gouging (Sec. 601) and require full cash refunds for cancelled flights (Sec. 602) during the national COVID-19 emergency. In addition, the bill would require that airlines provide quarterly reports to the Department of Transportation on the revenue they collect from baggage, change/cancellation, seat reservations, and other add-on fees. 

NCL, along with a coalition of consumer and passenger rights groups, last week called on Congress to include a series of consumer protection measures in any airline bailout legislation. The proposed protections would address passengers’ concerns during the current emergency as well as broader structural issues in the airline industry going forward. 

The following statement is attributable to John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud at the National Consumers League: 

“A functioning airline industry is vital to America’s economy during this time of national emergency. Congressional leaders must not lose sight of the fact that passengers are the lifeblood of that industry. Congressional Democrats COVID-19 relief bill contains many, but not all, of the protections that airline passenger groups, including NCL, requestedWhile it is not a perfect bill, we urge leaders in the Senate and House to work together to ensure that the proposed protections are not watered down at the behest of the airline lobby as negotiations progress toward a final package.” 

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneering 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 www.nclnet.org.

Consumer groups urge Congress to insist on consumer protections in airline taxpayer bailout

March 19, 2020

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832 

Washington, DC–A coalition of national consumer and passenger rights groups today called on Congress to include provisions in any contemplated airline industry bailout legislation that address both the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on passengers as well as long-standing consumer protection concerns.

After years of record profits, the airline industry is now facing steep and painful financial headwinds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the industry has asked the Trump Administration and leaders in Congress for a bailout package of grants, loans, and tax relief reportedly totaling more than $50 billion. This includes $29 billion in grants, up to $25 billion in loans, three months of tax rebates and a repeal of aviation excise taxes through at least the end of 2021.

To address the immediate danger of the coronavirus and related passenger protection concerns during the national emergency, the groups urged Congress to require airlines to take steps to mitigate the spread of coronavirus on airplanes, require cash refunds for consumers who cancel flights or whose flights are canceled by the airline, require reasonable rebooking fares and increase call center staffing levels.

As advocates for consumers, the groups further urged Congress to heed the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis by including a slate of needed consumer protections such as making ancillary fees reasonable, restoring a private right of action, empowering state attorneys general to protect passengers, prohibiting further reductions in seat sizes, and ensuring equal access to fare, fee and schedule data.

“A commercially viable air transportation system is vital to the U.S. economy, but in the past decade the airlines have raked in $96 billion in profits on the backs of consumers with the implicit assurance that taxpayers would bail them out in the event of a major market disruption,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League. “If the airlines are going to run to Congress for a bailout when they could have invested in pandemic insurance or increased their cash reserves, then policymakers should require binding commitments to address long-standing consumer protection concerns.”

“After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Consumer Reports supported taxpayer relief  for the airline industry, but urged Congress to require protections to address longstanding consumer complaints,” said William J. McGee, Aviation Adviser for Consumer Reports.   “Unfortunately, no such protections were included, and since then, the airlines have consolidated, become less consumer-friendly, and laid off hundreds of thousands of workers as their profits soared.  Meanwhile, consumers have had to put up with tighter seats, indifferent customer service, and an increasing number of costly fees. Consumers should not be left out now.”

“Restoring a private right of action is the one necessary structural solution to provide sufficient industry discipline to prevent airlines from trampling on all the rights and interests of their customers,” stated Business Travel Coalition chairman Kevin Mitchell. “The right to sue when harmed is fundamental and is one that the U.S. Congress never intended to have stripped from airline consumers when it deregulated the industry in 1978. Moreover, it is a right that consumers exercise in every other consumer-facing industry to discourage market participants from abusing their rights.”

“As air travel is the main way the coronavirus has quickly spread to become a global pandemic, airlines have a special obligation to strictly obey government guidelines to mitigate the pandemic even though this means less revenue and increased expenses in the short term,” said Paul Hudson, President, FlyersRights.org, Public Member, FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee and Evacuation Advisory Rulemaking Committee. “DOT Secretary Chao must also strictly enforce the guidelines and abandon the agency’s weak enforcement of passenger rights. Congress at a minimum should repeal the exemption of airlines from consumer protection laws applying to all other businesses.”

“The last investment taxpayers made in the airline industry during a time of crisis was followed by record profits on the backs of consumers through less competition, transparency, passenger comfort and a proliferation of fees for services previously included in the price of a ticket,” said Kurt Ebenhoch, executive director of Travel Fairness Now. “This time, massive public assistance to the airline industry must be coupled with a meaningful commitment from the airline industry to passenger safety and consumer protection.”

“For years, the airlines have failed to place either passenger health and safety or passenger rights first, so Congress needs to require that they do,” said Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. PIRG Senior Director for Federal Consumer Programs.

“It’s time to put the public interest front and center as we take steps to address the immediate problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the airline industry in the long-term,” said Susan Grant, Consumer Federation of America’s Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy.

The letter was signed by the National Consumers League, Business Travel Coalition, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, EdOnTravel.com, FlyersRights.org, Travelers United, Travel Fairness Now  and U.S. PIRG.

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ABOUT

The National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneering 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 www.nclnet.org.

Business Travel Coalition

Founded in 1994, the mission of Business Travel Coalition is to interpret industry and government policies and practices and provide a platform so that the managed travel community can influence issues of strategic importance to their organizations. For more information, visit www.businesstravelcoalition.com

Consumer Action

Through education and advocacy, Consumer Action fights for strong consumer rights and policies that promote fairness and financial prosperity for underrepresented consumers nationwide.

Consumer Federation of America

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of non-profit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, more than 250 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization’s Board of Directors. CFA is a research, advocacy, education and service organization.

Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports (CR) is a nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests, including their interest in safe and affordable air travel. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.

EdOnTravel.com

A longtime travel expert, Ed helps consumers get the most from their travel dollar. His feature and Q&A columns give readers up-to-the-minute advice on everything from planning an itinerary for a European rail trip to booking flights, renting cars and buying travel insurance. Perkins also peppers his columns with valuable tips to avoid travel hassles.

FlyersRights.org

FlyersRights.org, established in 2007, is the largest airline passenger organization. It publishes a bi-weekly newsletter, operates a free hotline for airline passengers 877-FLYERS6, advocates for passenger rights and interests, represents passengers on the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee dealing with air safety, and maintains a staffed office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.flyersrights.org

Travel Fairness Now

Travel Fairness Now is a non-profit coalition of 70,000 travelers advocating for greater transparency, competition and fairness in travel. For more information, please visit www.travelfairnessnow.org.

Travelers United

Travelers United is the only nonprofit, consumer travel organization dealing with air, rail, bus, rental car, cruise, and lodging.  With a presence in Washington, DC we regularly bring together the Department of Transportation, the Federal Trade Commission, congressional representatives, and major stakeholders to impact important issues on behalf of travelers. For more information, visit www.travelersunited.org

U.S. PIRG

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.