Wells Fargo Debacle Increases Visibility of Arbitration Clauses in National Politics

Hillary Clinton gave a speech today in which she hit Wells Fargo's use of arbitration clauses, among other things.  Some excerpts:

[T]he Wells Fargo scandal shed light on another threat to consumers that we have to address. When the scams victims, people like you and me who had accounts there tried to sue, they were shocked to learn there was a provision in the very fine print of their contracts that kept them from going to court to sue the bank for being cheated. Instead, they are forced into a closed-door arbitration process without the important protections that you get in a court of law.

We are not going to let corporations like Wells Fargo use these fine-print gotchas to escape accountability.


And in fact, this is now common practice across a lot of industries, from nursing homes — nursing homes that mistreat seniors, to for-profit colleges that defraud students. You know, who reads all that fine print? I don’t. And you get defrauded or you get mistreated and then all the sudden they, well you can’t sue us. So we’re going to rein in that abuse across everybody.

More on the speech from USA Today and Reuters. Text here.  (nice to see another prominent official admit to not reading fine print). Meanwhile, Senator Sherrod Brown, ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, plans to introduce a bill that would enable consumers for whom Wells opened unauthorized accounts to sue in court, notwithstanding arbitration clauses. More on that from The Hill

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