OCJ shares findings from Community Listening Sessions

May 16, 2022

Between July 2021 and February 2022, Oregon Consumer Justice hosted 12 community listening sessions in partnership with community organizations to understand how Oregonians experience consumer injustice. These initial sessions included low-income communities, Black and Latinx communities, immigrant communities, rural communities, elders, and people who had experienced incarceration to focus on consumers who most frequently experience predatory behaviors

And what we heard was both troubling and alarming. At shocking rates, Oregonians are the victims of scams, unscrupulous auto dealers, telemarketing ploys, and hard-to-escape service agreements. And despite the hard work of lawyers, advocates, and staff at regulatory agencies, what we heard points to significant barriers to accessing justice.

“It’s hard to ask the right questions if you don’t know what you should know. So it’s easy to be taken advantage of.” —OCJ listening session participant

Four key themes surfaced throughout the sessions:

  1. Consumer justice is not a reality for the people we spoke with or their families and community members.
  2. Predatory actors harm people in a large variety of ways.
  3. People lack easy access to enforcement.
  4. People lack access to trusted legal support.

OCJ Listening Session Findings

Explore the listening session data that will help us prioritize our work and hone in on the most impactful strategies within our four ecosystems of law, community, consumers, and policy.  

“A veces no sabes a dónde acudir.” (“Sometimes we don’t know where to turn.”) —OCJ listening session participant

These findings align with what we hear from enforcement agencies, other organizations concerned with economic and consumer justice, and our partners in communities. 

Auto dealers—the quality of the vehicles sold and the predatory, unfair financing—were the most frequently raised issue. Debt and collections were also named, with medical debt being the most common example. Credit and account practices, especially for telecommunications, were a pervasive problem, and housing was also a frequent topic for renters and homeowners alike. 

In the short term, listening session data will help us prioritize our work and hone in on the most impactful strategies within our four ecosystems of law, community, consumers, and policy.  

We are deeply grateful to our partner organizations for their support in arranging these sessions and to the individuals that participated for courageously and generously sharing their stories.

“We can change this. We can stop this cycle” —OCJ listening session participant

We look forward to collaborating with you to build a broad, community-driven movement to advance consumer justice in Oregon.

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