GARLAND DEMPSEY, CEPA FOUNDER LED & INSPIRED
On February 6, 1966, fifteen people assembled at a meeting held in the North Philadelphia
headquarters of the Congress of Racial Equality(CORE). They agreed to establish a consumer organzation, adopted the name of
CONSUMER EDUCATION AND PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION (CEPA), APPROVED AN 8-Point program of consumer education and protection and
elected Garland Dempsey as their first chairperson.
Before 1965, there was hardly any help available to consumers.
Ralph Nader had not appeared on the scene, there was no Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Bureau, no Small Claims courts,and
no legislative or media attention to consumer issues.
Several attempts to start a consumer organization failed. One of
the first people who considered the idea was Garland Dempsey.
In December, 1965, Mr and Mrs. Henry Outlaw, neighbors
of Garland Dempsey in North Philadelphia received a refund of $787.00 from a finance company. Mr. Dempsey helped file a complaint
on their behalf about a swindle in the refinancing of a loan. The Gallman case got nationwide attenion and resulted in Congress
passing The Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968. This landmark piece of legislation which later became " The Truth in
Lending Act" was the first of a series of consumer credit protection laws written to protect consumers rights.