National Consumers League

Senate votes to undermine Americans’ right to a day in court

October 25, 2017

Contact: Cindy Hoang (202) 207-2832, cindyh@nclnet.org   

Washington, DC--The National Consumers League (NCL) condemns the Senate’s passage of a Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule. The rule would have allowed consumers access to courts after big banks like Wells Fargo steal their identity, or credit bureaus like Equifax compromise consumers’ most personal information.

The following statement is attributable to Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director:

“Last night, while most Americans were sleeping, 50 Senate Republicans and Vice President Mike Pence voted to take away our sacred right to a day in court. Today, in the aftermath of massive financial wrongdoings like Wells Fargo’s nearly 1.4 million fraudulent accounts scandal or Equifax’s massive data breach, financial companies will continue to be free to bury binding arbitration clauses in their terms of service. These ‘rip-off clauses’ are designed to prevent consumers from having their day in court or joining together to form a class action lawsuit after they are harmed.

In fact, earlier this year the NCL Board of Directors voted to take NCL’s operating capital out of Wells Fargo and switch to Bank of Labor precisely because of Wells’ requirement that customers to give up their rights. Bank of Labor, Bank of America and many credit unions are thriving without forcing their customers to sign away rights through these odious ‘rip-off clauses.” We applaud CFPB director Richard Cordray, whom NCL is honoring this evening, for his efforts to protect the consumer rights that were just taken away in one fell swoop by this unfortunate Senate vote.

The Senate’s decision to side with Wall Street over consumers is shameful. The denial of one of our most basic rights as Americans -- the right to our day in court -- is a massive step backwards for consumers and our nation. While this may be a setback, the National Consumers league will continue fighting before Congress and the Administration to reaffirm consumers basic rights, including, the right to justice.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.