Consumer Federation of California

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The Consumer Federation of California (CFC) was founded in 1960 as a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. CFC campaigns for state and federal laws and appears at the California state legislature in support of consumer-focused regulations. The Consumer Federation of California is led by Executive Director Richard Holober and Board President James Gordon Jr.

CFC has advocated for medical and financial privacy, the prevention of elder abuse, strengthening food and product safety laws, regulation of private, for-profit colleges, eliminating household toxins, combating false advertising and fraud and creating access to civil justice.

The organization also intervenes in proceedings of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and participates in other state and federal regulatory proceedings.

CFC's main activities include:

• Advocating for laws and regulations that ensure consumer protection

• Directing consumer complaints to the appropriate government or non-profit agency.

• Educating the public and decision makers about consumer issues

Legislative Scorecards[edit]

The Consumer Federation of California issues annual Legislative Scorecards [1] that grade State Senators and Assemblymembers on the percentage of pro-consumer votes each lawmaker casts on consumer rights bills that were considered in the legislature that year.

CFC California Bills 2015-2016[edit]

CFC Sponsored Bills[edit]

SB 899 (Hueso) Women's juvenile, adult and senior products.

Would prohibit discriminatory pricing of goods based on the gender of the product's intended user.

SB 648 (Mendoza D) Health and care facilities: referral agencies.

Would require a referral agency to obtain a license in order to refer a person to a residential care facility for the elderly. The bill would prohibit a referral agency from holding any power of attorney or any other property of a person receiving referral services, or from disclosing any personal information of a person receiving services, unless expressly authorized to do so. The bill would require a referral agency to provide a statement disclosing any payment the agency received from a care facility.

AB 886 (Chau D) Transportation service network company: passenger privacy.

Would prohibit a transportation network company (e.g. Uber, Lyft, etc.) from requesting or requiring personally identifiable data of a passenger unless the information is used for certain purposes, including establishing, maintaining, and updating a customer's account. The bill would require the transportation service network provider to provide an accountholder with an opportunity to cancel or terminate an account.

CFC Supported Bills[edit]

SB 763 (Leno D) Juvenile products: flame retardant chemicals.

Would require a manufacturer of juvenile products, such as bassinets, high chairs and strollers. [2] stating whether the product contains toxic flame retardant chemicals.

SB 178 (Leno) Electronic device information access: Privacy.

Requires a law enforcement agency to have a search warrant or subpoena before accessing the contents of a cell phone.

CFC Opposed Bills[edit]

AB 925 (Low) Would have allowed businesses to secretly record cell phone conversations with customers. (Died)

AB 2395 (Low) Would have allowed copper carriers to abandon copper landlines beginning in 2020. (Died)

AB 2688 (Gordon) Would establish limited regulations for health and fitness apps and health information websites, but falls short of established California medical privacy law. (Opposed unless amended)

CFC California Bills 2013-2014[edit]

CFC Sponsored[edit]

AB 2667 (Bloom) Prohibits rent-to-own companies placing spyware on rental computers without notifying the consumer. (Enacted into Law)

SB 1256 (Mitchell) Regulates the healthcare providers to set certain disclosure requirements for healthcare providers who arrange for credit payment for procedures not covered by health insurance. (Signed into Law)

SB 383 (Jackson) Would have restored the consumer privacy protections of the Song-Beverly Cred Card Act to apply to online transactions. (Died)

SB 1188 (Jackson) Would have provided that fraud or deceit may consist of the suppression or omission of a material fact by one who is bound to disclose it. (Died)

CFC Supported[edit]

SB 52 (Leno, Hill), strengthens transparency provisions relating to campaign disclosure requirements for contributions and advertisements.

SB 383 (Jackson), sponsored by CFC, restores consumer privacy for online purchases; it is a 2-year bill and held for a Senate Floor vote in January 2014.

SB 448 (Leno) proposes office to investigate possible gas price fixing; also investigates illegal activity and recommends ways to reduce volatility of gas prices in California.

SB 556 (Corbett), co-sponsored by CFC, prohibits private contractors with government agencies from appearing to be government employees.

AB 25 (Campos) provides social media privacy rights for public sector employees; prohibits employers from requiring applicants or employees to give their email or social media passwords. (Held by author)

AB 127 (Skinner) reduces the use of flame retardant chemicals in building insulation while maintaining fire safety and encouraging healthy business practices. (Enacted into law)

AB 658 (Calderon) protects privacy for people using mobile medical apps; does not permit vendors providing personal health record services to share confidential medical information. (Enacted into law)

AB 462 (Stone), co-sponsored by CFC, requires residential care facilities for dependent adults and the elderly to install fire sprinkler systems. (Defeated in Assembly Government Operations Committee)

AB 1700 (Lowenthal) Would prohibit a reverse mortgage lender from taking an application unless the applicant has received from the lender a specified reverse mortgage worksheet guide.

CFC Opposed[edit]

SB 26 (Hernandez) Requires the Secretary of California Health and Human Services Agency to contract with one or more nonprofit organizations in order to administer the California Health Care Cost and Quality Database, a searchable database that facilitates comparisons of cost, quality, and patient satisfaction across payers, provider organizations, and other suppliers of health care services. (Opposed unless amended due to privacy concerns)

Recent Rate Proceedings[edit]

1. Safeco Insurance Company of America: PA-2015-00007 (2015-2016)

2. Wawanesa General Insurance Company: PA-2015-0007 (2015-2016)

3. State Farm General Insurance Company: PA 2015-00004 (2015-2016)

4. California Capital Insurance Company: PA-2015-0002 (2014-2016)

5. Farmers Insurance Exchange: PA 2013-00011 (2013-2014)

6. Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company: PA-2014-00011 (2014 – 2015)

7. AIG Property and Casualty: PA 2013-00013 (2013-2014)

8. Infinity Insurance Company: PA-2014-00002, (2014)

9. State Farm General Insurance Company: PA 2013-00012 (2013-2014)

Recent California Department of Insurance Proceedings[edit]

In 2015 CFC participated in California Department of Insurance Rulemaking Workshop entitled: Sale of Insurance on a Group Basis Pursuant to Insurance Code 1861.12.

In 2014, CFC participated in California Department of Insurance Public Hearing on Autonomous Vehicle Insurance Issue s.

In 2012 CFC participated in California Department of Insurance rulemaking entitled: Standards for Repairs and Use of Aftermarket Car Parts, CDI File No. REG 2011 00024.

In 2012 CFC participated in California Department of Insurance rulemaking workshop entitled: Scope of Prior Approval, CDI File No. OV-2011-00076.

In 2008 CFC participated in California Department of Insurance rulemaking: Usage Based Auto Insurance, CDI File No. REG 2008-00020.

Controversy[edit]

Because the Consumer Federation of CA takes positions in favor of consumers, it has been accused of anti-business bias by some business groups and conservative commentators. Several of the bills and regulations that CFC supports have been designated as “job killers” by the California Chamber of Commerce.

CFC Education Foundation[edit]

The CFC publishes educational materials for the public on consumer issues and sponsors the CFC Education Foundation, a 501(C)(3) non-profit that works to serve the public interest.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]