February 14, 2018

Senator Hassan Presses FTC Nominees on Protecting Consumers from Student Loan Scams

Senator Hassan Also Questions Nominees on Predatory Video Game “Loot Boxes”

CommerceHearingRelease

Click here for footage of the Senator’s questions.

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan today questioned nominees to be Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioners about the importance of protecting consumers from predatory student loan scams during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing.

Senator Hassan highlighted that some predatory student loan providers exploit vulnerable young people by charging outrageously high, often illegal, upfront fees in addition to monthly charges. Asked by Senator Hassan what more the FTC can do to fight these predatory lending practices, Rohit Chopra said “this bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreclosure crisis.” He added “I know there’s been some criticism of the FTC in being late to this, but I really think the staff has done a terrific job on its student debt relief work, and I think we need to amplify that work and look to work with Attorneys General and others to make sure that we are not allowing a repeat of what we saw in the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis.”

Senator Hassan also prompted a commitment from the four FTC nominees that they would look into video games that include so-called “loot boxes, ” which use psychological principles and enticing mechanics that could prove harmful or addicting to children. Senator Hassan asked four FTC nominees if they agreed “that children being addicted to gaming -- and activities like loot boxes that might make them more susceptible to addiction -- is a problem that merits attention,” and if the FTC would be willing to look at loot boxes as an issue independently.

Senator Hassan sent a letter today to Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) President Patricia Vance raising concerns about the harms loot boxes could have on young gamers.

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