WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 10, 2015: Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron released this statement today in response to the release of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s report on forced arbitration:

We commend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for its conducting the comprehensive, in-depth study of forced arbitration released today, and we are pleased to be able to provide testimony at today’s CFPB hearing on the topic in Newark.

Under forced arbitration, consumers who have been wronged are unable to stand up for their rights in court.  Instead, they are forced to go before an arbitrator hired by the very company that wronged them.  It’s like playing a baseball game in which the other team hires and fires the umpires.  So it’s no wonder one study found that, in consumer disputes, the company wins 94 percent of the time.  Given those long odds, it’s only logical that, as the CFPB found, very few consumers ever even take their disputes to arbitration.

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, CFPB was instructed to study forced arbitration.  That law also gives CFPB the authority to prohibit forced arbitration clauses in consumer financial products if it finds that such a prohibition would be in the public interest.  The report adds to the overwhelming body of evidence that such a prohibition is not just in the public interest, but is vital to ensure companies will be held accountable when they harm everyday Americans.

The evidence reinforces the findings in our own documentary on the topic, Lost in the Fine Print, which tells the story of three everyday Americans who were left defenseless against corporate wrongdoing because of forced arbitration.

We urge the CFPB to take the next step and prohibit forced arbitration wherever it has the authority to do so.  And we’re urging all Americans to join us by signing this petition to the CFPB.

 

Alliance for Justice, www.afj.org believes that all Americans have the right to secure justice in the courts and to have their voices heard when government makes decisions that affect their lives. We are a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. Through our justice programs, we lead the progressive community in the fight for a fair judiciary, and through our advocacy programs, we help nonprofits and foundations to realize their advocacy potential.