Georgia Watch’s Poll Results Show Strong Support for Consumer Protection Policies

ATLANTA, GA, November 29, 2023 – Consumer advocacy organization Georgia Watch has released a statewide poll administered by the University of Georgia (UGA) that shows Georgians strongly support increased financial protections for consumers, increased hospital accountability, and equity considerations in the legislative process. Specifically, Georgians broadly support the regulation of car title lenders, instituting a rate cap of 36% for small-dollar loans, wage garnishment protection, and increased hospital financial assistance spending.

According to Executive Director Liz Coyle, as legislators return for a special session this week, Georgia Watch will be at the Capitol to shine a light on critical consumer protection issues. “We’ll be calling for solutions to meet the urgent needs of Georgians to ensure all families have the opportunity to prosper and build thriving communities,” Coyle noted. “These poll results show Georgians across the state are in support of our consumer protection policy priorities.”

Highlights from the UGA poll among 1,152 respondents include:

A majority of Georgians support stronger consumer financial protection laws.   

  • 71% believe the Department of Banking and Finance should regulate car title lenders. 
  • A strong majority (83.8%) believe that all small-dollar loans in Georgia should be subject to an annual interest rate cap of 36%. 
  • 76.7% believe that Georgia law should be changed to prevent medical debt from being subject to wage garnishment or bank levy.  
  • Most (67.8%) do not support Georgia Power raising their electricity rates to make up their share of cost overruns to pay for two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. 

Georgians overwhelmingly support hospital closure accountability and requiring increased financial assistance spending.  

  • 82.9% believe that the closure of a hospital should be subject to a six-month review by the Georgia Attorney General and the Department of Community Health. 
  • Most (79.2%) believe hospitals should increase financial assistance spending to help low- to middle-income patients avoid medical debt.

Most Georgians believe there are longstanding barriers in place that prevent certain demographics from achieving financial security.

  • 59.8% believe that longstanding barriers make it harder for minorities to achieve financial security today. 
  • A strong majority (81.1%) believes that before a law or regulation is put in place, legislators should examine how such changes might affect particular demographic groups.

Read the full 2023 Consumer Protection Policy Poll Report.

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About Georgia Watch 

Founded in 2002, Georgia Watch is a statewide, non-profit consumer advocacy organization working to inform and protect Georgia consumers on matters that significantly impact their quality of life, including the effects of predatory business practices, the high cost of utilities and healthcare, and restricted access to the civil justice system.