Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Consumer Protection
DRAFT AMENDMENT FOR THE 2010 PLATFORM OF THE GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
CHAPTER 2: SOCIAL JUSTICE
Section title: Consumer Protection
Our position: Greens support strong consumer protections against corporate greed, usury, rip-offs, fraud and dangerous products.
Greens believe that prevention and justice are at the heart of consumer protection. Millions of lives will be saved or lost depending on the strength of our consumer protection laws. We aim to stop corporations and others from defrauding consumers or endangering them with shoddy products and/or negligence. We stand with consumers, who have been injured or defrauded by corporations, and support their efforts to redress the wrongs done to them. We stand with whistleblowers, who are often the public’s best protection against corporate crime, fraud and waste.
1. Strengthen product safety standards and enforcement for a variety of products, including food, motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals and airplanes.
2. Restore state health, safety, and consumer protection laws by striking federal preemptions that weaken state law.
3. Preserve and expand product labeling requirements to ensure that consumers are informed about the origin, ingredients and ecological life cycle of all products, including animal testing and the product's organic, recycled and genetically-engineered content. With food products include information about nutritional value and its vegetarian and/or vegan status.
4. Prohibit corporations from concealing information about public health, labor conditions or environmental safety via protective orders or confidential settlements.
5. Expand class action rights against manufacturers of unsafe products and practices, and strengthen the civil justice system and supply the resources necessary to bring to justice to those corporations that injure innocent consumers.
6. Protect whistleblowers against demotion, job-loss and other forms of retaliation.
7. Oppose "tort reform" that undermines consumers' ability to seek redress, and "medical malpractice reform" that relieves negligent doctors of responsibility for injuring or killing their patients.
8. Grant consumers the right to limit collection and secondary use of personal information by any commercial entity.
9. Prohibit lenders and credit card companies from charging more than 12% annual interest, indexed for inflation, along with broad protections against unwarranted fees and other abusive terms.
10. Prohibit the widespread practice of price-gouging against women and the poor.
11. Repeal the mis-named Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 in order to restore Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a viable final safety net for consumers caught by health crises, unaffordable mortgages, credit card debts and student loans.
12. Ban the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, which companies use to shunt consumers into anti-consumer and unfair dispute resolution processes.
13. Establish new independent government consumer advocacy agencies to protect the interests of consumers, and restore the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs.
14. Support policies to encourage citizens, taxpayers, ratepayers and consumers to form Citizens Utility Boards to advocate for the public interest.
ORIGINAL 2004 TEXT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
Consumers have the right to adequate enforcement of the federal and state consumer protection laws. Health and safety are of paramount importance, so we oppose lax or inappropriate regulatory actions.
a. Consumers should have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives and protect their interests, beyond simply voting on election day.
b. We support the creation of consumer advocacy agencies in order to protect the interests of consumers against corporate lobbyists who have too often successfully argued before regulatory agencies against consumer rights. We would require legal monopolies and regulated industries (including electric, gas, water, and telephone utilities) to set up statewide consumer action groups to act on behalf of and advocate for consumer interests.
c. We call for better information for consumers about the products they buy, and where and how they are made. We endorse truth in advertising, including the clear definition of words like “recycled” and “natural.”
d. We defend the rights of individuals to participate in class action lawsuits against manufacturers of unsafe products. We call for restrictions on secrecy agreements that may prevent lawsuits by not revealing damaging information.