The United States Senate has recently voted to take away some of your consumers rights. As a consumer, you may no longer have a potential day in court against banks and large corporations. Instead, consumers will once again be forced into an arbitration court that almost always rules in favor of the bank or creditor. This ruling is a big win for big banks and credit companies and a big loss for consumers and Louisiana debt collection laws.
Big banks and credit card companies have quietly included in clauses in fine print for dozens of years. These clauses include one that prevents consumers from being able to sue the big banks and credit card companies in traditional court systems. Rather, they require in the fine print of their contracts that any dispute to go to a smaller court. This special court is specifically created to hear those types of disputes in arbitration. Credit card companies argue that this a more efficient way to fairly handle disputes. However, the arbitration almost always results in a ruling in favor of the big banks and credit card companies. Effectively, forced arbitration takes away one of the only tools that consumers have to defend themselves from deceptive and predatory business practices.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau spent five years debating and researching with public officials and the general public to adopt a rule on forced arbitration. This rule would have provided fair opportunity for consumers’ voices to be heard. Yet, it only took a single vote by Vice President Mike Pence to break the tied vote in favor of the Republican lawmakers, and throw out the rule protecting consumers’ rights.
According to Christine Hines, National Association of Consumer Advocates’s legislative director, the allowance of forced arbitration “reeked of the banking industry’s heavy-handed influence over Washington’s politicians.” “Wall Street’s power … of millions in donations to campaign coffers, made it easy for Senate Republicans to choose big banks and predatory lenders over the rights of their own constituents.”
This outcome is an example of lobbyist dollars once again controlling our elected officials. And consumer advocacy groups are left still urging consumers to exercise their rights as citizens to not only vote, but let your elected officials know that your vote is contingent on if they stand up for your rights in turn.
Although Louisiana consumers Louisiana debt collection laws will also be affected by this vote, there is one consolation in that the Louisiana Senator John Kennedy was one of only two republicans to vote against forced arbitration. Consumer advocacy groups such as Paramount Law applaud Senator Kennedy for standing up against big banks efforts to systemically victimize consumers with Louisiana debt collection laws.. There is hope that this vote is a statement of more consumer focused actions for Senator Kennedy for positive affects on Louisiana debt collection laws.