CFPB plans a consumer awareness study on “dispute resolution” (that is, arbitration)

by Brian Wolfman

As many of our readers know, the Dodd-Frank financial reform law authorizes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate consumer arbitration. Under that law, the CFPB must conduct a study of consumer arbitration and then issue a report to Congress before it does anything to regulate pre-dispute aribtration clauses in consumer finance contracts. See Pub. Law 111-203, section 1028. CFPB regulation may include a ban of pre-dispute mandatory arbitration in some or all consumer finance contracts within CFPB's purview. The ban or any other regulation must be "consistent with the study." See section 1028(b).

As part of the CFPB's study, the agency has now notified the public that it plans to do a survey of consumers "exploring consumer awareness of and perceptions regarding dispute resolution provisions in credit card agreements." It is calling for public comment on whether and how that survey should be conducted. Read the CFPB's
notice. As explained here, comments are due by August 6. The agency wants comments on

(a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper
performance of the functions of the Bureau, including whether the
information shall have practical utility; (b) The accuracy of the
Bureau's estimate of the burden of the collection of information,
including the validity of the methods and the assumptions used; (c) Ways
to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be
collected; and (d) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of
information on respondents, including through the use of automated
collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments
submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included
in the request for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. All
comments will become a matter of public record.

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