Broad Coalition of Senate Democrats Call on Top Consumer Agency to Limit Unfair Arbitration Agreements in Everyday Financial Contracts

WASHINGTON, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–August 4, 2016.  Today, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and a group of nearly 40 Democratic senators—including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senators Al Franken, D-Minn., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio—called on one of the nation’s top consumer advocacy agencies to quickly finalize an important proposal to limit the use of what is called “forced arbitration” in contracts that Americans sign when they need to take out an auto loan, sign up for a checking account, or pay for college.

Forced arbitration clauses are agreements that large corporations often slip into the fine print of contracts that Americans sign every day. And they have big consequences. By restricting access to the court system, these clauses prevent consumers who have been wronged from seeking meaningful legal recourse.

Over the past year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been working on a new rule to limit forced arbitration in financial services contracts—things like credit cards, checking accounts, payday loans, and private student loans. And today, the broad group of Senators threw their support behind the proposed rule and called for it to be finalized as quickly as possible.

“Every day, Americans across the country are forced to sign away their constitutional right to access the courts as a condition of purchasing common products and services like credit cards, checking accounts, and private student loans,” the senators wrote in a letter to the director of the CFPB. “To restore Americans’ access to justice and hold financial institutions accountable, we strongly support the CFPB’s proposal to preserve the ability of consumers to band together in class actions when seeking relief through the civil justice system.”

The letter was also signed by Senators Ed Markey, D-Mass., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Mark Warner, D-Va., Chris Coons, D-Del., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

You can view a copy of today’s full letter by clicking here