For years, big banks have gotten away with stealing your right to sue if they wrong you.
They do it through the fine print that is written into millions of credit card and banking agreements. It says that if you believe your bank, credit card company or other financial institution has ripped you off or otherwise caused you harm, you cannot take the matter to court.
Instead, the dispute goes into arbitration – a process rigged to favor the financial institution and explicitly designed to keep you from banding together with others to confront patterns of bad behavior.
This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – the watchdog agency that is the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren – issued a rule that said that banks can no longer block the door of the courthouse and evade justice when they break the law.
It’s only fair: If you steal from a bank, you’ll be brought before a judge. The same should happen if a bank steals from you – and thousands of others. That’s what the CFPB rule says.
But some Republicans in Congress don’t see it that way. Within hours, a top Senate Republican announced he would work to kill that rule and protect the status quo. If these Republicans succeed – and they are under big pressure from Wall Street to block this rule – this won’t be a temporary setback. This fundamentally unfair and undemocratic practice that keeps Wall Street from being held legally accountable for its actions would be permanently locked in.
Sign this petition so Congress hears you loud and clear: Keep the CFPB arbitration rule and protect our right to challenge corporate wrongdoers in court.
Republican leaders in Congress are hell-bent on neutering the CFPB or eliminating it altogether, precisely because it takes actions like this to even the playing field for consumers going up against the financial giants.
But we can win this. Yes, corporate money does talk, but when we stand together, our collective voices are too powerful to ignore.
Isaiah J. Poole