Author Archives: Jeff Sovern

Mark Budnitz’s brief essay on problems in modern consumer payments

Here, in the Los Angeles Lawyer (you might have to scroll to page 28). Among the topics discussed are FedNow and cryptocurrencey. Excerpt: Ominously, the introduction of consumer-facing chat-bots and other artificial intelligence devices has provided fraudsters with new and improved tools for deceiving consumers. At the same time, consumer transactions now routinely involve “click […]

Buy Now Pay Later and Regulation

Buy Now Pay Later, or BNPL, probably would never exist in its current form but for regulation. The Truth in Regulation Act does not apply to loans which are to be repaid in no more than four installments, and BNPL usually provides for repayment in exactly four installments. In other words, BNPL was created to […]

Are deferred interest plans abusive?

USA Today’s Daniel de Vise has an interesting article, 62% of Americans say this zero-interest payment plan should be against the law, about a form of consumer lending called deferred interest plans. Here’s an excerpt: A popular payment plan offered by America’s big-box retailers promises no interest on your purchase if you pay it off in, […]

Nearly 100 members of Congress urge the CFPB to issue a new arbitration rule

More information here. Here’s an excerpt: Consumers must be given a meaningful opportunity to choose how to proceed when disputes arise. Take-it-or-leave-it terms and conditions imposed in a consumer contract, through use of a product, or by signing up for a service does not allow that opportunity. Restoring consumers’ ability to make the choice about […]

Book Chapter: The Federal Arbitration Act Should Not Cover Consumer Claims

I wrote The FAA Should Not Cover Consumer Claims, to appear in The Federal Arbitration Act: Successes, Failures, and a Roadmap for Reform (Richard A. Bales & Jill I. Gross eds., forthcoming 2024 Cambridge University Press). Here is the abstract: Consumer protection laws face a fundamental enforcement issue: because consumer claims are typically for small […]

The arbitration debate continues: a reply to Mark Levin and Alan Kaplinsky

As regular readers of the blog know, last month some 160 law academics filed with the CFPB a comment supporting the issuance of a new arbitration regulation (disclosure: I served on the drafting committee). Mark J. Levin & Alan S. Kaplinsky of Ballard Spahr recently posted a critique of the law professor comment on the Consumer Finance […]

CFPB critics complain that Bureau is political after fighting to subject it to the political branches

When Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it tried to insulate it from the political branches. Critics of the Bureau have fought to eliminate that insulation. For example, industry actors asserted that the president should have the power to fire the CFPB director without cause, a position that the Supreme Court agreed with in […]

Poll finds majority of consumer financial services lawyers rarely or never read consumer contracts before agreeing to them

From time to time at a gathering of consumer law folks, I poll participants about whether they read consumer law contracts and disclosures. Here, for example, are the results of a survey of consumer law professors asked those questions. Earlier this year, I surveyed the audience at a consumer financial services lawyers, some of whose […]

160+ law professors urge CFPB to issue new arbitration rule

Reuters’s Allson Frankel has the story here, and also reports on industry opposition. The original petition, as well as the comments, can be read here. Here’s an excerpt from the law professor comment (disclosure: I served on the drafting committee): Multiple studies have demonstrated that consumers do not understand arbitration clauses. In contrast, no study […]

Burge article on uniform laws’ impact on crypto as a payment mechanism

Mark Edwin Burge of Texas A&M has written After FTX: Can the Original Bitcoin Use Case Be Saved?, 72 Kansas Law Review, (2023). Here is the abstract: Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies spawned by the innovation of blockchain programming have exploded in prominence, both in gains of massive market value and in dramatic market losses, […]