Consumer Protection Week 2024: Empowering Consumers in a Complex Marketplace

Last week was National Consumer Protection Week. In a world where consumer decisions are increasingly complex and nuanced, National Consumer Protection Week served as a time to share guidance for individuals navigating the intricacies of today’s marketplaces. This week-long event provided invaluable insights and resources aimed at empowering consumers and safeguarding their rights in an ever-evolving landscape.

Throughout the week, OSPIRG experts delved into a myriad of pressing issues impacting consumers, offering practical advice and actionable steps to address them effectively. From protecting personal data to advocating for product safety and combating fraudulent practices, each day of Consumer Protection Week shed light on a different facet of consumer advocacy.

Day 1: Airline Passenger Protections

As the demand for air travel continues to soar, OSPIRG highlighted the importance of understanding passenger rights and protections amidst a landscape marked by flight cancellations, delays, and lost luggage. Through expert guidance and informative resources, consumers gained insight into navigating disruptions and asserting their rights as air travelers. 

Airline Travel Tips You Shouldn’t Fly Without 

Day 2: Medical Billing and Credit Reports

Medical expenses pose a significant financial burden for Oregon consumers, exacerbated by the high cost of health care, including expensive insurance premiums and high deductibles. A report from OSPIRG highlights the fiscal toll of health care costs, with over 60% of bankruptcy filings in 2019 including medical debt, often exceeding $10,000. This burden is widespread, affecting consumers across various income levels and geographic regions in Oregon.

The prevalence of medical debt underscores the need for policies aimed at reducing health care costs and improving access to affordable care. Oregon policymakers are exploring initiatives such as the implementation of a public option health plan to lower insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, offering relief to financially strained consumers. Additionally, efforts to control health care cost growth through accountability mechanisms and performance improvement plans are vital in ensuring sustainable and affordable health care for all Oregonians.

Consumer Protection Week 2024 provides a platform to advocate for consumer rights and address pressing issues such as medical debt and health care affordability. By prioritizing legislative measures that empower consumers and promote financial security, Oregon continues its commitment to protecting consumer interests and enhancing the overall well-being of its residents.

How to make sure your credit reports don’t include medical debt under $500 or already paid off

Medical Bills: Everything you need to know about your rights

Unhealthy Debt: Medical costs and bankruptcies in Oregon   

Day 3: Combatting Robocalls and Robotexts

In an age marked by rampant scam calls and texts, OSPIRG emphasized the importance of vigilance and awareness in identifying and avoiding fraudulent schemes. Through practical advice and insights, consumers were empowered to protect themselves against deceptive practices, ensuring their privacy and financial security in an increasingly digitized world.

Is this text, or call, or email, a scam? 

Day 4: Right to Repair

The Right to Repair movement has gained momentum in response to the prevalence of disposable electronics and shortened product lifespans. OSPIRG’s advocacy for increased access to repair options aimed to empower consumers to extend the lifespan of their devices, fostering a culture of sustainability and consumer empowerment in the marketplace.

The passage of the Right to Repair Act in Oregon exemplifies the state’s commitment to consumer rights and environmental sustainability. By empowering consumers with the ability to repair their devices and conserve resources, Oregon sets a precedent for innovative consumer protection measures nationwide.

‘Failing the Fix’ scorecard grades Apple, Samsung, Google, others on how fixable their devices are

The Right to Repair Act clears final legislative hurdle, goes to Governor Kotek’s desk  

Day 5: Ensuring Product Safety

Ensuring the safety of everyday products is paramount, yet product recalls reached a seven-year high in 2023 according to a new report from OSPIRG. Focusing on product safety underscored the importance of proactive measures and awareness in protecting consumers from dangerous products, advocating for enhanced enforcement efforts and consumer education.

Tips to find out about product recalls

Safe at Home in 2024?  

Day 6: Safeguarding Data Privacy

With growing concerns surrounding data privacy and the proliferation of personal data collection, PIRG highlighted the need for enhanced privacy protections and consumer rights. By providing practical steps and resources for protecting personal data, OSPIRG empowered consumers to assert control over their privacy in an increasingly interconnected world.

In addition to these nationwide efforts, the Oregon Consumer Privacy Act, passed in July 2023, grants consumers certain rights regarding their personal data, including the right to access, correct, and delete information held by businesses, as well as the right to opt out of data sales to third parties. However, the law places a burden on consumers to navigate data privacy issues. Starting January 1, 2026, Oregon residents will gain an additional layer of protection with the implementation of a global opt-out mechanism, allowing individuals to automatically opt out of data collection and sales across websites. While the Oregon Consumer Privacy Act represents a step forward in data privacy legislation, there is room for improvement in ensuring robust consumer protections. 

5 steps you can take to protect your privacy now

What the Oregon Consumer Privacy Act means for you  

Consumer Protection Week 2024 served as a reminder of the importance of consumer advocacy and empowerment in today’s marketplace. Through legislative initiatives like the Right to Repair Act and ongoing education and advocacy efforts, OSPIRG continues to champion consumer rights and create a fair and secure marketplace for all.


Brenna Stevens

Campaign Associate, OSPIRG

As the field associate at OSPIRG, Brenna works to engage members and assists the team with Right to Repair, health care and consumer protection campaigns. Brenna lives in Portland where she enjoys spending time outdoors and cooking.

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