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May 23, 1974 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-23

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THE
Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, May 23, 1974
News Phone: 764-0552
Unhand us, ya perverts
ITH THE RETURN of the warm weather, droves of
malevolent, sex-starved males have taken to the
streets oance more to intimidate, proposition or otherwise
harrass their female victims.
The comparatively innocent pastime of "girl-watching"
appears to have evolved to much more than merely a
spectator sport in recent years. Apparently, modern-day
comoisseurs of the flesh r'egard ogling and whistling as
outmoded techniques.
In these days of sexual permissiveness, these mis-
guided males deem it necessary to uphold their macho
image by employing lecherous stares and obscene lan-
guage to express their sexual desires. And sometimes, not
even these blatant tactics suffice to satisfy their per-

PIRGIM REPORTS
Truth in lending, maybe

tiy RICHARD CONLIN
THIE TRUtITH-IN-LENDING L a w, p a s s d by
Congress in 1968, is a well-constructed con-
sumer protection measure, and one which d-
dressed an important and widespread problem.
However, it also provides an example of the
frequent dichotomy between what's written on
the books and hov the world actralry operates --
that is, betweuen a. law and the enforcement pro-
cess.
The law itself deals with the problem of con-
sumer credit. Prior to its passage, borrowers
were losing billions of dollars annually as a re-
suit of fraudulent and deceptive practices, includ-
ing concealed charges, rates calculated to appear
smaller than they really were, fine print and
hidden clauses in the loan contracts giving lend-
ers unfair advantages. '
The Truth-in-Lending law attempted to elm-
inate these practices by requiring contracts to be
written in standard forms with all charges spec-
ified and the interest rate expressed through one
universal formula, the Annual Percentage Rate
(APR). To reduce deceptive advertising, it ban-
ned the use of any rate calculation other than the
APR in advertising.

verted tendencies.MMO ST OF THE provisions relating to contracts
and other written statements have been observed
It is not unusual for an unsuspecting young womani and enforced. Written materials provide e a s y
to have various parts of her anatomy grabbed at and evidence of violations, and very few such vila-
subjected to probing, pinching and other unsavory tions therefore exist.
carresses. The spoken word is more elusive; and that is
But because most women are so accustomed to this where many problems have occurred. The law
may work when it comes down to the contract
sort of dislgstin sexist behavior, they rarely make use itself, but by the time the average consumer gets
of fhe tegal recourse available to them. Consequently, down to signing the written contract, he or she
these ass-grabbing animals spend most of their potent has probably made too much of a commitment to'
lives on the prowl for likely targets. back out without a very obvious reason. -
Thus, in comparing loan options and analyzing
JA/HAT MOST WOMEN do not realize is that they do provisions, what matters is the information the
" not have to pot on with this sort of harassment. Cur- consumer can get orally, by talking to alternative
rently, there is a stnte law which states in part, "anyone loan sources in person and on the telephone.
using obscene. indecent, or vulgar language . . . in the The federal government has mandated that
presence of a woman is guilty of a misdemeanor." the law applies to oral quotation of loan rates.
The question, of course, is whether this is b'ung
Although the law is almost as sexist as the behavior enforced.
which it seeks to thwart, the penalty of up to 90 days in
jail and or a fine of $100 is enough to make any veteran FOR THAT REASON, PIRGIM and PIRG's in
lech keep his mouth shut. several other states have surveyed lending insti-
tutions over the telephone, asking them to quote
Also, under the present state law, any sort of unso- rates to determine whether they were giving the
licited bodily contact is classified as "assault." This legal rates mandated for accurate consumer in-
means that a woman can take her attacker to court for formation - that is, the Annual Percentage Rate
any offense ranging from a quick feel-up to sexual vio- (APR).
lation. Last fall, PIRGIM surveyed banks. We found
that only 41 per cent of the banks surveyed were
Althoug'h must of these odious perverts make complying with the law. This spring, we recheck-
speedy getaway, it sometimes is possible to get either ed the banks earlier found in violation and also

extended the survey to credit, unions and auto
dealers. We found that only 27 per cent of credit
unions and 17 per cent of auto dealers were in
full compliance. We found credit unions frequent-
ly quoting the monthly rate, which is somewhat
- deceptive. We found auto dealers frequently quot-
irng the grossly deceptive and illegal"add-on"
rate, which is totally in contravention of the
law. The resurvey of banks showed that 83 per
cent of banks exposed as violators in PIRGIM's
earlier survey have now moved into compliance.
AFTER DOING this. sprimg's survey, we con-
tacted the lending institutions and the enforce-
ment agencies responsible for the law, and found
that the enforcement agencies had done little to
ensure compliance. Some of the lenders even
professed ignorance of the law.
We feel that these projects demonstrated three
things. First, they show that there is a lack of
sincere concern for he consumer on the part
of many of the institutions surveyed. If an in-
stitution really cared about truth-in-tending and
adequate consumer information, it would empha-
size this in its employee training; it wouldn't
wait for enforcement. action to be taken.
Second, they show that the agencies entrusted
with consumer protection simply aren't doing
their job. There is no reason why PIRGIM should
have to do this type of survey: it could and
should be done by the Michigan Financial Institu-
tions Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.
One agency, the National Comptroller of the Cur-
rency, has belatedly begun such a program, but
its jurisdiction is limited to national banks: other
agencies maust act as well.
THAT LEADS TO the third conclusion. Cu-
sumers must continue to be alert in dealing with
loans. Since neither the lending institutions nor
the government is adequately concerned with
trtith-in-lending, you must check competing in-
stitutions carefully when you seek a loan. Check
the rate, the contract provisions, the actual dollar
cost of the loan, any "extras" you may be charg-
ed for. It may make a big difference to yir
finances.
The Truth-in-Lending Law was designed to pro-
tect consumers and promote competition in lie
lending -field, thereby toughening the economics
system and helping to prevent inflated lending
rates, a contributor to both inflation and reces-
sion. Some successes have been scored, but
truth-in-lending is not yet an integral part of the
loan- system.
Richard Conlin is a PIRGIM staff member.
PIRGIM REPORTS is a co~lun provided to
The Daily by the Public In/erest Researcsh Group
in Michigan.

their name or the license number of their car. In addi-
tion to carrying such useful weapons as lighted cigarettes
or nail files, women should also keep a pencil and paper
handy for recording any information that might help
identify these offensive males.
CHERYL PILATE
WE AGREE.
For those who are going to answer the above editorial
with 1) "You girls (sic) should take that stuff as a com-
pliment," 2) "That's sex, not sexism," 3) "I'd love it if
women treated me the same way," or 4) "He's just sow-
ing his wild oats"--thanks but no thanks.
-MARNIE 'HEYN and
REBECCA WARNER
ANONYMOUS L TER REGEDE BY 11 Waei6'ON POESEPI5.1972
Tn H E E OUSC
l-Mr S of Otj1asi9ton Post
L.X FF m CLSI

Letters to the Da ly

To The Daily:
GRADUATION 1974 left us
angry and disturbed. Jerry
Ford's confused metaphors
about China and the U ni te d
States - 'trust the people / don't
pay attention to the polls' -
were bad enough, but Robben
Fleming's remarks gave us a
real chill.
He presented a caricature of
history by placing the class of
'74 as the first in nearly a de-
cade that is not 'tainted' by the
'radicalism' of the 1960's. It is
fittingly ironic that the class
of '74 generally complained
about arriving too late on the
campus scene to experience the
uplift of activism that accom-
panied the sexual, racial and
academic reform as well as
anti-war protest of the 60's.
Fleming remembered political
graffiti but not the causes of
such expression. He must have
preferred clean walls and drone-
like acceptance of geuoctdal
imass murder in Indo-Cihina.
What are his values?
te offered an invitatia nor
social unity based on our com-
mon realization of the seious-
ness of the planetary con.mion.
But unity with the causes of
our plight is simply anotue:- in-
vitation to cynicism the class of
'74 knows only too well.
AS GRADUATES of two uti-
versity classes, '69 and 74, we
offer another.type of inv.a ion
to Robben Fleming. We insote
him to leave his highest-ii-the-

state public salary, maticured
White House, and management-
profit mentality. ("It's a nimney
problem.") and join- the un'-
versity's 3,00 secretarie sm
their struggle to gain lob se-
curity and a decent wage.
We invite him, as Prof. Good-
man suggested in his introduc-
tion and as Jerry Ford ill.strat-
ed in his red-book address, to
dirty his hands with the people
in their efforts to combat the
-reality of our corporate-govern-
ments' (national, state,,i-at,
and university) elitist wastefl-
ness with authentic egalitarian
discipline. We invite him to -e-
member the history of the 60's
as the continuing reality of the
70's: racial and sexual inequit-
ies, war in Indo-china, hierar-
chical education, elite-based so-
cial services, and lying govern-
ment.
We invite him to exprience
the joy of struggle and spray,
spray, spray - "graffiti", as
he calls it, until the causes of
protest are as weak as hIs self-
serving vision of recent histort.
ALL PEACE and power to
those of the class of '74 who
turn their backs on corporate
cynicism (and Oakland County)
and join the planet's masses!
-Members of University
Classes of 1969 and 1974
May 9
To The Dailyt
The quest for poser is my
shepherd, I shall not want.

He maketh me lie to the peo-
ple; he leadeth me beside
the still Congress.
He restoreth my soul; he lead-
eth me in the paths of con-
tempt for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of
Watergate, I will fear no
impeachment, for thou art
with me; my tapes and my
transcripts they comfort me.
Thou preparest a throne before
me in the presence of my
enemies; thou anointest my
head with fantasies; my cup
runneth over.
Surely subpoenas and (expletive
deleted) shall follow me all
the days of my life: and I will
dwell in the White House
for ever.
-Reprinted by permission
of Father MacLaughing
by
Oded Borowski
Dept. of Near Eastern
Studies
Letters to The Daily shold1
be mailed to the Editorial
Director or delivered to
Mary Rafferty in the Student
Publications business office
in the Michigan Daily build-
ing. Letters should be typed,
double-spaced and normally
should not exceed 250 words.
The Editorial Directors re-
serve the right to edit all
letters submitted.

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