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AAJ Statement on Consumer Agency's Proposal to Restore Americans' Rights

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Announces Proposed Rule Restricting the Abusive Use of Forced Arbitration, Restoring Consumers’ Ability to Join Together to Hold Banks Accountable in Court

May 05,2016

The following is a statement from American Association for Justice President Larry Tawwater on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) release today of its proposed rule on forced arbitration, which would restore Americans’ ability to join together to hold Wall Street accountable. By burying forced arbitration clauses in the fine print of consumer contracts, banks, credit card companies, and other financial service providers grant themselves a license to steal and strip customers of their right to go to court.

“Forced arbitration allows Wall Street to evade vital consumer protection laws designed to ensure that even the most powerful financial institutions follow the rules. The CFPB’s proposal to restore the right of Americans to join together to hold Wall Street accountable is a significant step forward, but we urge the Bureau to establish a strong final rule that restores the right of all Americans, including those seeking justice on an individual basis, to choose whether and how to enforce their rights.

“The financial security of American families depends on a level playing field where they can hold Wall Street accountable if they are cheated out of their hard-earned money. But forced arbitration gives big corporations a license to steal by preventing cheated customers from banding together as a class to hold that corporation accountable. Instead, consumers are funneled into a rigged proceeding where they will have to face the bank – and its vast financial resources – alone.

“The CFPB’s exhaustive 728-page study makes it clear that the vast majority of Americans are unknowingly tricked into signing away their rights only to be forced into a rigged system if they’ve been cheated by Wall Street. While we applaud today’s significant action, we urge the CFPB to fully empower consumers to enforce all their rights to hold financial institutions accountable, both individually and as a group. Only then will consumers have the full protection they are guaranteed by the Constitution.”

The short video below demonstrates the efforts by the American Association for Justice to end forced arbitration and return our access to justice.

Sarah Jones