Consumer Protection

  • Hastings: Utility assistance is necessary for COVID-19 recovery

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    FRANKFORT – The Illinois Commerce Commission announced the decision to approve several consumer protection measures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several of which State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) called for as leader of the Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities working group this past legislative session.

    “Throughout March and April, I met with my colleagues on the Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities working group and numerous stakeholders. Our charge was very simple: we had to arrive at a solution to protect consumers,” Hastings said. “I’m thankful that Chairman Zalewski and the ICC listened to our recommendations allowing us to arrive at a helpful solution.”

  • The Majority Report 05/18/20 - Senate returns for special session next week

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    Harmon calls for cooperation heading into COVID-19 special Senate session

    Sen. President Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s return to session later this week.

    “Time and again the Illinois Senate has shown its members can work together to solve problems and produce results for the people of this great state. That cooperative spirit of bipartisan achievement is needed now more than ever. This global pandemic has decimated our state and local economies regardless of political affiliation. From far flung living rooms, kitchen tables and home offices, Senators have been working together while apart to figure out what we can and need to do now."

    Read more.

     


    Lightford, Castro talk session, reopening on Chicago Tonight

    Lightford, Castro talk session, reopening on Chicago TonightCHICAGO — Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) and Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) appeared via video teleconference on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight for an interview with Carol Marin last week.

    Lightford and Castro answered questions regarding Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to reopen Illinois and the upcoming return to Springfield to hold session on May 20, 21 and 22. They spoke of legislative priorities for the busy yet pandemic-shortened session period, how to balance reopening the economy with public safety, the safety concerns surrounding legislators convening and what needs to be done to address the needs of struggling families in Illinois.

    You can watch the full interview here.

     


    Hastings, Senate Working Group push for additional energy consumer protections during the coronavirus pandemic

    Sen. Michael E. HastingsCHICAGO — As the world adapts to unprecedented change from coronavirus, a bipartisan group of legislators is urging state regulators to strengthen consumer protections to keep the lights on for residents and businesses turning to recovery in Illinois.

    The Illinois Senate Energy Working Group, led by Chairman Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park), last week sent a letter to the Illinois Commerce Commission urging the commission to adopt several reforms that would protect small and large energy consumers once Illinois emerges from the coronavirus shutdown.

    Read more.

     

     


    Bennett encourages self-advocates at virtual Going Home Rally

    Nursing home PPECHAMPAIGN — State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined hundreds of advocates from across Illinois virtually last Thursday to speak on the plight of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This year’s advocacy day looked a little different than in years past, but it’s critical that advocates continue to raise their voices about issues that impact people with disabilities,” said Bennett. “The coronavirus pandemic has been overwhelming for everyone, but especially for individuals with disabilities whose routines have been disrupted abruptly.”

    Read more.

     

     


     

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  • Bertino-Tarrant empowers consumers to make sound financial decisions

    05172018CM0341RPLAINFIELD - Credit reporting agencies will no longer be able to charge Illinois residents who want to freeze their report reports due to system hacking or stolen information, thanks to a measure supported by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

    House Bill 4095, which will allow consumers to protect themselves in a cost-effective and timely manner, was signed into law on Friday.

    “As a society, we rely on online systems to do everyday tasks. At times citizens are at the mercy of these credit reporting agencies,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Dealing with the aftermath of massive security breaches is time-consuming and devastating. Will County residents who were unwitting victims of the 2017 Equifax security breach dealt with frustrating and often expensive processes to secure their information. This is simply unacceptable.”

    The Equifax security breach that happened in September of 2017 compromised information such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers. This breach is very concerning as such sensitive information can be used for identity theft.

  • Tom Cullerton’s Equifax measure is now law

    04262018CM0104RVILLA PARK – On Sept. 7, 2017, Equifax announced that a security breach compromised the personal information of 143 million U.S. residents, including more than 5.4 million Illinois residents.

    There will now be protections against the consequences of such breaches thanks to a measure championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), which will allow consumers to protect themselves in a cost-effective and timely manner.

    “This new law will ensure people are not penalized for making responsible financial decisions,” Cullerton said. “Every day Illinois residents use online services that require them to share personal information. This makes all of us susceptible to security breaches similar to the 2017 Equifax breach. When misfortune strikes, it’s vital that the State of Illinois ensure DuPage County residents have the tools available to protect themselves.”

  • Hastings sets new rules for consumer credit reporting agencies

    Sen. Michael E. HastingsTINLEY PARK – Credit reporting agencies will no longer allow consumer reporting agencies to impose a charge on a consumer for placing a freeze, removing a freeze, or temporarily lifting a freeze on their credit reports, thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park).

    Hastings pushed for safeguards after Equifax announced that a security breach compromised the personal information of 143 million U.S. residents, including more than 5.4 million Illinois residents.

    Equifax originally disclosed the breach in September of 2017, but since then, there have been multiple disclosures from the company that show more vital information was stolen than the company originally revealed. Just last month, Equifax informed the public that a small number of passport images and information were stolen as part of the security breach, despite previously denying such a thing occurred.  

  • Cullerton works toward stronger consumer protections for Illinois residents

    equifax 022318SPRINGFIELD- In 2017, the consumer credit reporting agency Equifax announced a massive security breach that compromised the personal information of over 5 million Illinois residents.

    State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) helped advance a measure that will ensure Illinois residents have tools in place to protect themselves in a cost effective and timely manner if a similar situation affects them.

    “Every day we utilize online services that require us to share personal information,” Cullerton said. “This makes all of us susceptible to security breaches similar to the 2017 Equifax breach. And when this misfortune strikes I want to ensure Illinois residents have the tools available to protect themselves.”

    Under current law, consumer reporting agencies are allowed to charge up to $10 each time a consumer wishes to freeze, remove a freeze or temporarily remove a freeze on their credit reports. On top of that, Illinois residents can only request a freeze through certified mail.

    Cullerton’s House Bill 4095 would not only eliminate fees but would also allow Illinois residents to initiate or remove a freeze by telephone and through electronic methods.

    “People should not be penalized for exercising financial common sense,” Cullerton said. “It’s our duty to provide Illinois residents with robust forms of credit protection and identity theft prevention services.”

    House Bill 4095 passed the Senate’s Committee on Financial Institutions with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

    For those that are already victims of identity theft or those who believe their personal or financial information has been compromised, Cullerton suggests calling the Illinois Attorney General’s toll-free Identity Theft Hotline at 1-866-999-5630 or 1-877-844-5461 (TTY).

  • Lightford introduces the Fair Lending Act (VIDEO)

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  • Koehler passes measure protecting renters

    koehler 050217SPRINGFIELD – Legislation protecting consumers from deceptive leases passed the Illinois Senate today. Senate bill 885 would protect renters from “rent-to-own” schemes that are often fraught with deceptive terms and conditions that can be costly to consumers.

    In a survey of housing counselors around the state conducted by Housing Action Illinois, only 12% of counselors reported that they felt that people considering rent-to-own homeownership opportunities well understand the differences between rent-to-own and homeownership with a mortgage.

    The new legislation would seek to address that lack of understanding by creating the Installment Sales Contract Act. Among the new protections is a requirement that a payment schedule is to be given to the buyer prior to closing, a prohibition on prepayment penalties and a requirement for a written contract with information about ballooning payments.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), the legislation’s sponsor, issued the following statement following the passage of SB 885:

    “Consumers should have as much information as possible when making one of the most important decisions of their lives. The deceptive practices often found in ‘rent-to-own’ contracts set renters up for a rude awakening. That is why we crafted legislation that seeks to bring more transparency and information to the process.”

    The measure now moves on to the House of Representatives.

  • Stadelman passes measure protecting ‘right to Yelp’

    yelp 050217SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) secured passage of legislation that protects the rights of consumers to leave honest online reviews of products and services without fear of retaliation.

    The measure prevents companies and service providers from enforcing non-disparagement clauses included in sales contracts. Such clauses typically include language that prohibits consumers from leaving negative feedback about the retailer. Oftentimes, particularly online, a consumer must accept the terms of a contract before completing a purchase.