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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why The Roberts Court’s Anti-Consumer Decisions Are Even Worse Than They Seemed

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"Why The Roberts Court’s Anti-Consumer Decisions Are Even Worse Than They Seemed"
Thanks in part to several recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts, most consumers are bound to contractual terms that severely restrict avenues for holding corporations accountable. Arbitration clauses, for example, force consumers to enter the private conflict resolution proceedings as an alternative to filing a lawsuit in court. Many arbitration clauses also prohibit “class action” cases, meaning each individual wanting to challenge the same practice must file his or her own separate case even when doing so would be prohibitively expensive.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a new study out that tells us why these clauses are even worse: Consumers almost never use arbitration. Out of tens of millions of people subject to arbitration clauses in agreements for credit cards, loans, checking accounts, and other financial transactions, only 900 people used arbitration between 2010 and 2012. During that same period, and even with so many contracts prohibiting court challenges, consumers filed more than 3,000 federal court cases on credit card disputes alone, including more than 400 class action lawsuits, each involving potentially millions of consumers, according to CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
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