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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

CFPB Study of Consumer Arbitration

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a study indicating that arbitration agreements restrict consumers’ relief for disputes with financial service providers by limiting class actions. The report found that, "in the consumer finance markets studied, very few consumers individually seek relief through arbitration or the federal courts, while millions of consumers are eligible for relief each year through class action settlements."

Other findings:

"in the credit card market, card issuers representing more than half of all credit card debt have arbitration clauses"

"Consumers filed roughly 600 arbitration cases and 1,200 individual federal lawsuits per year on average in the markets studied"

"it is rare for a company to try to force an individual lawsuit into arbitration but common for arbitration clauses to be invoked to block class actions"

"The CFPB found no statistically significant evidence that the companies that eliminated their arbitration clauses increased their prices or reduced access to credit relative to those that made no change in their use of arbitration clauses"

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