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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

What to know about Amazon’s new A-to-z claims process

Amazon’s new policy comes at a time when courts have been asked the question who is responsible for defective products when they are bought from an online platform that is acting as the go-between for the seller and the purchaser. 

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Our environment pays the price for plastic, and so do consumers

It’s the plastics industry’s worst-kept secret: a huge percentage of their products are designed to be used once then thrown away -- and yet it’s us, the consumers, who are left to pay for the cleanup.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

In the path of Hurricane Ida? You can take steps to protect your finances now | Teresa Murray

Hurricane Ida is projected to make landfall in Louisana late Sunday. Residents can start thinking now about how to protect themselves from opportunists and scam artists.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

T-Mobile Data Breach: Tips to protect yourself | Teresa Murray

The hackers say they have personal data on 100 million people. Long before this breach, you should have assumed some or all of your personal information was compromised

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News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

METRO adopts goal for all-electric public transit over the next decade

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) approved a goal on Thursday to transition the urban area’s entire public transit fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2030. This announcement came as part of METRO’s Climate Action Plan, which will start by adding 20 new zero-emission electric buses to their fleet starting in spring of next year. Board Member Chris Hollins will oversee the development and implementation of the new electric bus program.

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News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Investigation finds 1 in 7 used cars for sale at surveyed Texas AutoNation lots have unrepaired safety recalls

AutoNation, America’s largest auto retailer, is selling used vehicles with unrepaired safety recalls including explosive Takata airbags, faulty GM ignition switches and defects with no fix available. Unsafe Used Cars for Sale, a new report from Texas Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) Foundation, 1 in 7 cars for sale in Texas at AutoNation dealerships are dangerous to drivers, passengers and others who share the roads. 

“By selling recalled cars with safety defects, AutoNation endangers customers’ lives before they even reach home,” said Adam Garber, U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund’s Consumer Watchdog. “The only way that AutoNation can ensure a ‘worry-free’ purchase is to repair every recalled vehicle before selling it.”

The survey found numerous unsafe cars among more than 2,400 vehicles analyzed at 28 dealerships in 12 states. 1 in 9 cars for sale at all surveyed dealerships had active recalls and specifically, 1 in 7 cars at surveyed Texas dealerships have recalls. The recalled vehicles had defects that could cause vehicles to stall in traffic, seat belts to fail, Takata air bags to propel metal fragments at passengers, cars to catch on fire, or steering to malfunction.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

New analysis uncovers unsafe blood pressure medication distributed in US

A new analysis of publicly available information from the FDA by U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund finds only 26 percent of a class of recalled blood pressure medications have been assessed for carcinogen contamiantion -- and the majority had some lots with higher levels than the FDA considers safe.

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News Release | TexPIRG | Consumer Protection

1 in 10 surveyed daycares still using deadly, recalled infant sleepers

Three months after nearly 5.4 million infant sleepers were recalled for causing 36 infant deaths, a new survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education (U.S. PIRG) and Kids in Danger (KID) revealed that many child care facilities continue to use these dangerous inclined sleepers. The survey began after PIRG Consumer Watchdog Adam Garber discovered that his own son’s daycare in Philadelphia was using the recalled products.

“Every day, millions of parents drop their kids off, assuming their daycares have the information they need to keep their kids safe,” said Garber. “This failed recall is a wakeup call that our current system leaves too many infants at risk from these dangerous sleepers.”

U.S. PIRG and KID blamed the situation on confusing messages about the recall. Initially, a consumer warning for the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play on April 4th linked deaths to infant rollovers, leading some parents and facilities to conclude that proper use would keep babies safe. But a more complete analysis revealed some deaths occurred when the child was buckled in, leading the company and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to fully recall the 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play sleepers soon after on April 14. On April 26, nearly 700,000 units of the Kids II Rocking Sleeper were recalled.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Houston’s $7 billion solution to gridlock is more highways

Like many American cities, Houston is encircled by rings of highways—nine major radial freeways, three ring freeways, and a 180-mile fourth outer ring on the way.

But Houston isn’t just encircled by roads, it’s symbolically, and literally, being choked by cars. It’s consistently ranked as a top city for traffic congestion, ninth-worst for ozone pollution according to the American Lung Association, and a tragic nexus for deaths from car crashes. The annual death toll, according to the Houston Chronicle, is equivalent to “three fully-loaded 737s crashing each year at Houston’s airports, killing all aboard.”

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the solution is more roads, specifically, a multiyear, multibillion dollar project to widen and expand the city’s highway infrastructure in an attempt to ease persistent bottlenecks that clog downtown traffic.

 

This isn’t a small upgrade: in the name of accelerating commutes, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) will widen and rebuild nearly 25 miles of highways in the city’s downtown, expanding some to be as wide as the length of two football fields. In addition to years of construction, the “Texas-sized” expansion would displace four houses of worship, two schools, 168 homes, 1,067 multifamily units, and 331 businesses that account for just under 25,000 employees, impacting mostly people of color in low-income neighborhoods.

It would add more impermeable concrete and asphalt infrastructure, plus future maintenance costs, to a city that is still recovering from some of the worst floods in recent memory. Resilience is a serious concern post-Harvey, and as flood maps are updated as flood risks evolve, the addition of concrete to the landscape could make the next storm’s impact worse. Houstonians still recall how highways became channels of water that cut off neighborhoods from aid during the worst of the flooding.

To critics, the I-45 project, named after the main highway that will be impacted, is an urban renewal reboot, a modern version of the freeway expansion projects that wrecked neighborhoods and divided cities in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Why would more urban highways and lanes of traffic—especially at a time when many cities are actively removing or capping their highways—be a foregone conclusion in any effort to mitigate Houston’s serious congestion problem?

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection

Largest bank hack ever, of Capital One, exposes 100 million to identity theft

Everyone should assume that their social security number has been exposed between this breach and breaches of other major companies’ databases, such as Equifax’s. With that in mind, U.S. PIRG recommends all Americans should use their right by law to freeze their credit reports for free

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Report | TexPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Do Roads Pay for Themselves?

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Report | TexPIRG Education Fund

Trouble in Toyland

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Report | TexPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace

Policy Brief #6: The Exchange and Public Programs

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Gift Guide: How to avoid toxics in beauty products | Gina Werdel

Gifting beauty products to family and friends this holiday season? Here's a guide to purchasing safer beauty products.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Did your auto insurance company refund you enough for driving less this year? | Jacob van Cleef

State-by-state analysis shows companies financially benefited from fewer claims but barely compensated customers

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

16 ways to have a zero waste holiday in 2020 | Haley Clinton

With many cancelling annual gatherings, this is the year to think of ways to have a more sustainable, zero waste holiday season. Here are some ideas:

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Gift cards are a popular holiday purchase, but be careful this year | Teresa Murray

COVID-19 could push more stores and restaurants out of business soon

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Number of people living on the streets could triple in the months ahead | Jacob van Cleef

Eviction moratoriums, unemployment benefits, student loan repayment reprieves are ending, homeless shelters aren't a good option and there's no more relief in sight.

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Blog Post

The future of the targeted ad industry depends on first party data, and your favorite retailers are open for business. 

Blog Post

There are lessons for pre-schoolers, pre-teens, high schoolers and certainly, young adults going off to college or moving out.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Manufacturers will need to ensure that the battery compartments that use button or coin batteries are not easily accessible by children age 6 and younger.

Blog Post

Here are the steps to getting a written good faith estimate before receiving scheduled medical care. 

Blog Post

Smartphones and the Internet are incredible tools - but they come at a cost. Your data is often collected, sold and shared with a huge number of third party companies, often without you realizing it. Here's how to limit what data is collected on you and how it's used. 

Solid Waste

PIRG hosts webinar with MythBusters' Adam Savage on Right to Repair

Our national network and the Right to Repair team organized a summit featuring keynote speaker Adam Savage from MythBusters. He shared his thoughts with us on the movement and we discussed our current progress on the Right to Repair campaign.

 

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