Oversight & Investigations 01/9/2017
114th Congress Accomplishments Report
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation released its final report on committee accomplishments after the president signed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, the committee’s 60th proposal enacted into law from the 114th Congress.
Oversight & Investigations 08/11/2015
Midyear 2015 Report
Since January, the committee approved 36 bills, held 42 hearings and conducted five legislative markups. In addition, the Senate has passed nine Commerce bills and six additional bills have been included in Senate-passed legislation.
Oversight & Investigations 07/30/2014
Cramming on Mobile Phone Bills: A Report on Wireless Billing Practices
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released a majority staff report on the findings of the Committee’s investigation into wireless cramming – where consumers get charged on their phone bills for goods and services they never agreed to purchase. The new report titled, “Cramming on Mobile Phone Bills: A Report on Wireless Billing Practices,” describes a billion dollar industry that has cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in unauthorized charges on their wireless bill while at the same time yielding tremendous revenues for the major wireless carriers. Cramming became a problem several decades ago when phone companies opened their billing platforms to allow third-party vendors to charge consumers for goods and services unrelated to their phone service such as photo storage, voicemail, and faxes.
Oversight & Investigations 12/18/2013
A Review of the Data Broker Industry: Collection, Use, and Sale of Consumer Data for Marketing Purposes
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Ahead of a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on how data broker industry practices may impact consumers, Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV released a majority staff report summarizing the Commerce Committee’s investigation into how data brokers collect, compile, and sell consumer information. In spite of the key role they play in determining what advertisements and offers consumers receive, data brokers remain largely invisible to the consumers whose data populate their databases.
Oversight & Investigations 11/21/2013
Update on the Financial State of the Class I Freight Rail Industry
Oversight & Investigations 07/24/2013
Cruise Ship Crime: Consumers Have Incomplete Access to Cruise Crime Data
Oversight & Investigations 09/19/2012
Staff Report on Internet Moving Brokers
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV released a Committee staff report detailing the results of a year-long investigation into consumers’ complaints about distressing experiences with their moving companies and the potential abuses consumers face when moving across state lines. The investigation found that in many cases, Internet-based moving brokers and household goods carriers quote consumers one rate to move their goods, but then charged an exorbitant markup in order to complete the move—often after the carrier has already taken physical possession of the property. The staff report is available here.
Oversight & Investigations 05/24/2011
Consumer Health Insurance Savings Under the Medical Loss Ratio Law
Oversight & Investigations 09/15/2010
The Current Financial State of the Class I Freight Rail Industry
Oversight & Investigations 05/21/2010
Supplemental Report on Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet
Oversight & Investigations 04/15/2010
Implementing Health Insurance Reform: New Medical Loss Ratio Information for Policymakers and Consumers
Oversight & Investigations 11/17/2009
Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet and Their Impact on American Consumers
In May 2009, Chairman Rockefeller launched an investigation into a set of controversial e-commerce business practices that have generated high volumes of consumer complaints. Since that time, Commerce Committee staff has been investigating three Connecticut-based direct marketing companies – Affinion, Vertrue, and Webloyalty – as well as the hundreds of online websites and retailers that partner with these three companies to sell club memberships to online shoppers. Although this investigation is not yet complete, it is clear at this point that these three companies use highly aggressive sales tactics to charge millions of American consumers for services the consumers do not want and do not understand they have purchased.
Oversight & Investigations 08/6/2009
Staff Analysis of Waste, Fraud and Abuse in the SBIR Program
In February 2009, it was publicly disclosed that federal authorities were investigating a Florida technology engineering business called New Era Technology (NETECH) for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program fraud. In a filing in a Florida federal district court, investigators alleged that NETECH’s owners repeatedly submitted fraudulent SBIR proposals and invoices to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and used the award money to enrich their children and to purchase personal property for themselves, including a BMW automobile and a condominium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.1
Oversight & Investigations 06/24/2009
Underpayments to Consumers by the Health Insurance Industry
Since Chairman Rockefeller held two hearings in March 2009 on payment practices in the insurance industry, Senate Commerce Committee staff have been conducting a nation-wide investigation into how the insurance industry pays benefits to consumers who purchase “out-of- network” health insurance coverage. In the course of this investigation, Committee staff have determined that in every region of the United States, large health insurance companies have been using two faulty database products owned by Ingenix, Inc., to under-pay millions of valid insurance claims. The companies have used these Ingenix database products without providing even the most basic information about them to consumers or health care providers.