78,000 Consumers to CFPB: End Forced Arbitration

Yesterday, Republicans in Congress voted to obstruct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s authority to act on a critical consumer issue – ending forced arbitration.  For years, financial institutions have buried forced arbitration clauses in the fine print of their terms and conditions because it allows them to kick cheated customers out of court and instead force them into a rigged, private arbitration forum that often provides little to no relief for consumers.

The CFPB was empowered by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 to first study, and potentially ban or limit the use of forced arbitration in financial services or products if the CFPB’s study found that forced arbitration was not in the best interest of consumers.  Now, following the March 10 release of the study, the financial industry is terrified the bureau is poised to do just that.  

Instead of allowing the CFPB to fulfill its mission of protecting Americans from unscrupulous financial institutions, Wall Street’s allies on the House Appropriations Committee voted to severely disrupt rulemaking by attaching a rider to the FY 2016 Appropriations Bill on Financial Services and General Government that requires the bureau to repeat its comprehensive and conclusive study on forced arbitration at the taxpayers’ expense, as well as force the Bureau to ask Congress for permission before taking any action. 

Yesterday’s vote does not reflect the will of the people. Today, Americans for Financial Reform and the Fair Arbitration Now coalition, which includes Take Justice Back, delivered a petition signed by more than 78,000 Americans to the CFPB demanding that they take swift action to end this anti-consumer practice. This petition adds to the growing call for a rule to eliminate unfair forced arbitration clauses. Earlier this year, 107 groups and 58 Members of Congress urged the CFPB to move quickly to ban forced arbitration.