Articles tagged with: Forced Arbitration
Over 18,000 members of Americans for Financial Reform signed a petition calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ensure that consumers aren’t deprived of their day in court.
“More than 100 U.S. Senators and Representatives are asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to move ahead with its efforts to restore the right of consumers to join together to hold corporations accountable when they break the law. In separate House and Senate letters, the lawmakers voice their support for a CFPB proposal that would limit the financial industry’s use of forced arbitration “ripoff clauses,” typically buried in the fine print of take-it-or-leave-it contracts, to block consumers from challenging hidden fees, fraud, and other illegal behavior.”
“This rule is a crucial step to limit big banks’ and other financial companies’ efforts to escape liability if they break the law. Congressional or industry interference with the CFPB’s rulemaking process on forced arbitration would undermine consumer protection for critical financial products and services.”
“Under the terms of the CFPB’s proposal, consumers and companies would remain perfectly free to resolve disputes through arbitration, but it would be a voluntary act on both sides. What the CFPB is seeking to regulate is involuntary arbitration, dictated and controlled by banks and financial companies through take it-or-leave-it contracts with consumers. More specifically, its proposal would bar companies from compelling consumers to sign away the right to join forces to challenge a practice that injures many people at once.”
“’These clauses rob people not only of their constitutional right to go to court, but of the right to band together with others who have been damaged by the same corporate misconduct,’ said Lisa Donner, Executive Director of Americans for Financial Reform. ‘Each victim is compelled to go it alone, even if the cost of taking action far exceeds the damages in any individual case. Because the process often bars the parties from going public with their stories, forced arbitration serves as a way for companies to keep evidence of wrongdoing under wraps.'”
“Consumer advocates commend the CFPB for taking this crucial step to limit big banks’ and other financial companies’ efforts to escape accountability for breaking the law, and urge the agency to use the full force of its authority to restore consumers’ right to choose how to resolve disputes with financial institutions in this, and every, context in the final rule.”
“Class actions, as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg explained in 1997, create room for “vindication of the rights of groups of people who individually would be without effective strength” to object to wrongdoing. Leaving consumers without “effective strength” is precisely the point of the class-action bans found more and more often in contracts governing student and payday loans, credit and prepaid cards, and other financial products and services.”
With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now in a position to regulate the practice, a new poll shows strong public sentiment against the use of forced-arbitration clauses in consumer finance contracts. The poll demonstrates wide, bipartisan opposition to forced arbitration as the House of Representatives prepares to vote on a multi-agency appropriations bill that would put roadblocks in the way of CFPB action.