Americans for Financial Reform and our allies have long fought against forced-arbitration clauses that let the big banks break the law with impunity.
Here's how it works: just by opening an account or accepting a credit or debit card, you surrender your right to go to court if you are ever overcharged or treated unfairly. Instead, language buried deep in the fine print of the customer agreement requires you to plead your case before a private, secretive tribunal chosen for you by the bank.
Tell JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, and PNC Financial to stop hiding behind fine-print arbitration clauses that block consumers from asserting their rights in a court of law!
Arbitrators don't have to abide by the law, their decisions are almost impossible to appeal, and, they know they're unlikely to be re-hired if they make a habit of giving consumers a fair shake. One more thing the banks like about this system: as a rule, each wronged consumer must act alone, even if hundreds or thousands of others have been harmed by the same pattern of misconduct. (And the evidence that could document that misconduct remains conveniently secret.)
Earlier this year, a firestorm of public outrage compelled General Mills to retreat from a plan to impose forced arbitration on purchasers of Cheerios and Wheaties. We want to send a similar message to five of the biggest banks.
Click here to tell the big banks to respect consumers and stop using forced arbitration as a "Get out of jail free" card.
Making our voices heard on this issue can make a difference in more than one way. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is studying the impact of forced arbitration, and it has the authority to restrict or even ban the practice if it finds evidence of harm. Joining in this action is one way to let the CFPB as well as the banks know we think forced arbitration is a license to steal, and needs to stop.
Thank you for your support.
Americans for Financial Reform
John Gear is a Salem attorney in solo practice