The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) Records (1968-2015) consists primarily of administrative files, case files, research material, and inter-office memoranda in defense of individuals and small groups against unfair corporate practices and inefficient government oversight. Covering many aspects of twentieth-century consumer movement history, these records shed light on the role of a non-profit organization in advocating fairness on behalf of low-income individuals against corporate practices, the development of the protective consumer-oriented state and federal legislation, and their assistance in providing research, analysis, and experience to other non-profit entities working across the nation.
The Original Files Series, spanning ten boxes in the original collection and an additional one in the addition making eleven in total, gathers into an assortment of NCLC internal memoranda, staff reports, manuals, organizational policy statements, testimonies before state and federal congressional houses and consumer print matter bibliographies. The series also contains material from outside sources, including class action suits, banking, housing, lending and layaway plans of various institutions, debt collection credit rates, laws and individual practices, proposed federal trade regulations, and scams involving vocational schools, and various Universal Consumer Credit Code reports.
Likewise, some individual files contain published articles on subjects of on-going interest to the organization, including Gary Klein’s “Consumer Bankruptcy in the balance: The National Bankruptcy Review Commission’s Recommendations Tilt Toward Creditors” and William Willier’s “If Credit Reporting Agencies are Doing Their Jobs, Is There Really Any need for Collecting Agencies.” Where possible, the original organizational file structure of numerical case files has been retained as a contiguous unit.
The Standing and Advisory Committee Files Series is comprised of two boxes of material arranged in chronological order, which contain internal reports on regularly scheduled committee meetings (beginning in December 1998 and running into the twenty-first century) to address issues affecting the staff of NCLC, including budgetary allocations as well as office and personnel issues. The documents also cover issues relating to the Social and Unity Committees, changes to the internal database, and the role of a staff ombudsperson.
The General Files (Washington, D.C. Office) Series consists of one box, collecting in chronological order documentation on consumer affairs lobbying efforts at the organization’s Washington office, including correspondence, public statements, and newsletters. Some of the issues covered in the files include state oil overcharge allocation decisions involving Exxon, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Coalition on Human Needs, and the proposed re-regulation of interest rates.
The Advocacy and Conference Files (Massachusetts Office) Series spans seven boxes (five are from the original collection while two are from the addition) of material arranged in chronological order and by subject pertaining to material used in NCLC’s annual consumer affairs conferences, including reports on consumer fraud laws, advocacy highlight reports, market failures and predatory lenders, specialist training in consumer affairs as well as consumer manuals and several issues of the Legal Service Corporation Quarterly Report.
The Research Materials Series covers nine boxes of primary source and reference material amassed by NCLC as background for several on-going projects. Some items include different versions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, correspondence with the Federal Trade Commission, VHS tapes of news segments on family loan programs and predatory mortgage lending, bank creditor surveys, savings and loan, and insurance packing cases, reports on changes to credit rates and regulations in the 1970s and 1980s, analyses of different Truth-in-Lending Act iterations, court files relating to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and comments on different drafts of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code. Where possible, the original organizational file structure of numerical case files has been retained as a contiguous unit. Those segments of the series which do not possess case numbers have been arranged chronologically by subject.
The NCLC Reports series, added for the purposes of the 2015 addition, consists of one box containing numerous reports officially published by the NCLC on a variety of topics (such as consumer credit, usury, bankruptcy, debt collection, foreclosure, and others of NCLC interest). The dates of these reports range from 1982 to 2013. These reports cover cases that fall in the realm of consumer law and provide teaching tips for consumer rights advocates.
The Media Series, added for the purposes of the 2015 addition, spans one box and covers the chronological span of 1983 to 2016. This series consists of press releases and articles from various media sources (such as journals, newspapers, magazines, and online sources) that make mention of the NCLC and its work, often commenting on cases undertaken by the organization or its publications. These clippings include sources such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and local news sources. They cover a large variety of topics such as student debt, foreclosure, credit card debt, credit unions, and others.
The Printed Materials Series is in one box and contains materials that are published and bound, consisting of publications that span numerous topics and include law journals, Congressional hearings, and bound publications by the NCLC and staff.
The Digital Files Series, added to the collection in 2017, contains 10 digital folders of information pertaining to NCLC. The first two folders include HTML data files from the NCLC website from 2002 and 2016 including many records, and published material for consumers. The third folder contains PDF and Word documents of amicus briefings and the sixth folder contains information from the fair debt collection practices act. Several folders, 4, 5, 8, and 9, contain information in regards to NCLC conferences, press releases, reports, and brochures. Folder seven pertains to mortgage conferences held in 2012, 2014, and 2015 and folder ten includes documentation from webinars given by NCLC staff and personnel from 2009-2015.