Consumer Action

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Consumer Action
Formation 1971
  • San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, OR, United States;
Exec. Dir.
Ken McEldowney

Consumer Action is a nonprofit, consumer education and advocacy center, serving consumers in the United States. Founded in 1971, the mission of Consumer Action is to help individual consumers assert their rights in the marketplace and to advance pro-consumer industry-wide change for the benefit of all. Consumer Action primarily achieves that mission by providing multi-lingual education, outreach, and advocacy services.

It has offices in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.


Consumer Action's mission is to educate and advocate for consumers, publish and disseminate free multilingual consumer educational materials and fight for laws and regulations that benefit consumers — not large businesses and corporations.[1]


Consumer Action's frequent focus is consumer credit—and the related areas of credit cards, banking and finance, money management, and pricing; as well as health, housing, scams, fraud, privacy, and more. Consumer Action is well known for its annual Credit Card Survey [2][3]

Consumer Action works in collaboration with numerous consumer protection, consumer advocacy organizations, and coalitions to file commentary on government legislation and briefs, such as Fair and Reasonable Fee for Credit Score Disclosure[4] and for the publication of education and informational resources, such as Consumer Privacy Guide[5] published jointly with: the Center for Democracy & Technology, Common Cause, the National Consumers League, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

Consumer Action is a consumer protection, education, and advocacy organization, as quantified by the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics [6] It is often cited in consumer education campaigns[7] and interviews, like ABC's the View from the Bay.[8]

Credit Card Survey[edit]

In June 1986,[9] in collaboration with the Consumer Federation, Consumer Action introduced the Consumer Action Credit Card Survey, an annual survey of credit cards, banks, and lending practices. The survey has become well known for highlight hidden practices of credit card vendors that are anti-consumer.

The annual survey has highlighted predatory lending practices; and has been used to gain the attention of lawmakers. Don Oldenburg, of the Washington Post sites the highlighting of questionable lending and payment practices as one of the resources used for Congress and federal bank regulators to these questionable and costly practices.

Congress, a House bill called "The Consumer Credit Card Protection Act" would prohibit arbitrary universal default penalties. Another bill, "The Loan Shark Prevention Act," would establish a fair cap on credit card interest rates.[10]

The survey has been quoted and used local and national sources, such as Smart Money,[11] CNN Money,[12] and the New York Times.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Consumerist,
  3. ^ Reading the fine print on credit card rates, ABC 7,
  4. ^ Federal Trade Commission, Proposed Rules,
  5. ^ Consumer Privacy Guide,
  6. ^
  7. ^ Tom Abate, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 May 2003, S.F. consumer group tackles payday loans
  8. ^ ABC, Avoid Being Considered a Credit Risk
  9. ^ Google Timeline, Consumer Action Credit Card Survey,,tll:1986/06,tlh:1986/06&ei=ZI0MSsP6MJS-M5b_6Z0G&oi=toolbelt_timeline_result&resnum=1&ct=timeline-date
  10. ^ Oldenburg, Don, Washington Post, March 2006, Time Out on Cash Back
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ New York Times, 20 December 1998, PRACTICAL TRAVELER; Card Users Face Increasing Fees