Paul Bland Reports on Natural Experiment That Shows Arbitration, Unlike Class Actions, Leaves Consumers Unprotected

In the Daily Kos, Paul has written Settlement Shows Why Congressional Republicans Want to Let Banks Use Forced Arbitration.  Excerpt:

[R]oughly 1/3 of the customers impacted by US Bank’s illegal actions had signed an arbitration clause when they entered into a conditional sale contract with their car dealer. The arbitration clause included a provision that prohibits class actions. The other 2/3 had not. The court excluded those customers who were stuck with an arbitration clause from participating in the case. Despite the illegal conduct, those consumers were left with nothing: No car, millions of dollars in illegal debts still on the books and on their credit reports and no refund of illegally demanded payments.

The contrast couldn’t be starker. Customers whose car purchase contracts did not include an arbitration clause received substantial payments, averaging nearly double what U.S. Bank had collected illegally from them. They had their debt erased and their credit report cleared. * * *

 Paul also had a piece last week in The Hill. Here's an excerpt from that one:

[A]s CNN reported in its coverage of the [Wells Fargo unauthorized account] scandal, forced arbitration clauses “help hide misbehavior by companies in private mediation rather than opening it up to scrutiny in public court documents.” Twice — in 2014 and 2015 — consumers had filed class actions against Wells Fargo that would have stopped the illegal practice, and both times, the bank was able to use its forced arbitration clause to keep the fraud going, unhampered. 

In short, forced arbitration is a win-win for banks: They get to hide their business practices that defraud customers while also denying those customers the right to band together and take them to court.

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