Campaign for Accountability investigates companies and industries that exploit consumers. CfA works to uncover evidence of deceptive marketing tactics through open record requests and diligent research. CfA then files complaints with state and federal officials so the worst offenders can be held accountable.
CfA has worked to expose fraudulent, unethical, and misleading practices that hurt consumers.
Rooftop Solar Industry
CfA has been leading the fight to hold the solar industry accountable for deceptive sales practices. Beginning in October 2016, CfA submitted open records requests in several states to examine consumers’ concerns. CfA’s review of the complaints received from those requests revealed a widespread pattern of apparent fraud and abuse by solar companies. Consumers detailed how solar companies deceived them about the true costs of installing solar panels, lured them in with low price quotes that later proved to be false, required them to sign confusing contracts, and promised energy savings that failed to materialize.
In December 2017, CfA released a report highlighting the findings of its year-long investigation into the unscrupulous sales practices of the rooftop solar industry. CfA’s investigation found consumers filed more complaints against SolarCity and Vivint Solar than any other company.
We’ve called on state and federal officials to investigate deceptive sales and marketing practices in the rooftop solar industry. The Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation, and state officials are now starting to take action.
Continue reading about our Consumer Protection work below.
Campaign for Accountability investigates companies and industries that exploit consumers.
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Payday Lending Industry
CfA has also worked to uncover unethical behavior in the payday lending industry. In November 2015, we released a report entitled Academic Deception, which exposed the payday lending industry’s efforts to produce so-called “academic research” to promote its agenda. Our report revealed that the payday lending industry manufactured at least one academic study in a desperate attempt to cover up the fact that payday loans ensnare borrowers in an endless cycle of debt.
Furthermore, in June 2015, CfA filed an open records request seeking information about a payday lending study conducted by a professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. After nearly three years of litigation, the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously ruled in CfA’s favor and ordered the release of the requested records. As CfA detailed in a report entitled Academic for Hire, the records revealed that a lawyer for the payday lending industry, Hilary Miller, funded, designed, and edited the academic study defending the payday lending industry.
Additionally, in October 2015, CfA filed an ethics complaint against 11 members of Congress alleging collusion with the payday lending industry. We asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate these members of Congress for possible criminal and ethics violations by accepting contributions from the payday lending industry shortly before or after taking official actions in support of the industry. In May 2018, CfA filed another round of ethics complaints against 14 members of Congress for alleged collusion with the payday lending industry.
In October 2015, CfA called on on two congressional committees to investigate Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, for manipulating the Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) regulatory process for his personal financial gain. Soon after CfA sent its request to Congress, Shkreli was called to testify on Capitol Hill.
CfA continues to advocate on behalf of American consumers and hold those who act at the expense of the public responsible for their actions. Click below to learn more about our most recent consumer protection work.