CFPB To Consider Rules That Would Revoke Banks’ “License To Steal”

(Van Swearingen)

The lengthy, often complicated terms of use for more than half of all credit cards — and nearly half of all federally insured bank deposits — include clauses that force customers into arbitration, taking away their right to sue these companies in a court of law and usually blocking them from joining together in a class action. Critics argue that these forced-arbitration clauses allow banks and other businesses to break the law with impunity. Heeding the call of lawmakers and consumer advocates, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has decided to consider rules that would ban this practice among financial institutions. [More]

Dish Taking Away Users’ Right To Sue Company In Court. Here’s How To Opt Out

Dish Taking Away Users’ Right To Sue Company In Court. Here’s How To Opt Out

Over the weekend, a number of Consumerist readers wrote to us with the bad news that, like a growing number of companies, Dish Network is updating its terms of use to strip customers of their right to dispute legal claims in a court of law. There is a way for Dish subscribers to opt out of this restriction — but only if they do it right away. [More]

While fewer than 8% of all banks put arbitration clauses on deposit accounts, those few banks account for nearly half of all insured deposits in the U.S. (source: CFPB)

In Wake Of Arbitration Report, Consumer Advocates Ask CFPB To Revoke Banks’ “License To Steal”

This morning, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its final report on forced arbitration, showing how banks and credit card companies use contractual clauses to short-circuit class-action lawsuits from their customers. Now that the Bureau has done its research, consumer advocates are calling on regulators to use their authority to end the practice. [More]

Banks & Credit Card Companies Saving Millions By Taking Away Your Right To Sue

Adam Fagen

Tens of millions of American consumers have clauses in their credit card, checking account, student loan, and wireless phone contracts that take away their rights to sue those companies in a court of law, and more than 93% of these people have no idea they’ve had this right taken away from them. The companies involved are presumably quite happy about this lack of awareness, as it results in millions of dollars in savings that aren’t being passed on to you. [More]


Marching Band Delivers Petition To Citi Asking Banks To “Revoke License To Steal”

In a handful of recent decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the right of businesses to effectively break the law by putting a few carefully worded sentences into their contracts and user agreements. But just because you can add these clauses doesn’t mean you have to do so, which is why pro-consumer advocacy groups gathered more than 100,000 signatures on a petition that was delivered, with a little bit of music, to Citigroup HQ in Manhattan this morning. [More]

General Mills Thinks You’re Stupid, But Decides To Not Take Customers’ Legal Rights Away After All

(Paxton Holley)

While all sorts of big-name financial, tech, e-commerce, and telecom companies have been trying to take away consumers’ right to sue by inserting forced-arbitration clauses in their contracts and terms of service, it seemed ridiculous to think that the makers of cereal would resort to such deviousness, or how they would even be able to do it. But last week, General Mills tried, adding language to its website that stripped certain customers of their access to legal redress against the company. Realizing that maybe this might tick off an awful lot of people, the company has backed off this policy change. [More]

8 Things Companies Have Said That Sounded Like April Fool’s Jokes But Sadly Weren’t

8 Things Companies Have Said That Sounded Like April Fool’s Jokes But Sadly Weren’t

For the calendar-challenged, we’ll point out that today is April 1, meaning the Internet is full of phony products, fake stories, doctored photos… so, you know, it’s like most days on the Internet. Rather than serve up a “United Charges Upgrade Fee For Merely Being Jealous Of First-Class Passengers” headline, or a post about Comcast CEO Brian Roberts giving up his job to play Gretl Von Trapp in a regional theater production of The Sound of Music, we’re looking back at some stories that would have been appropriate for April Fool’s. [More]

9 Federal Laws That Companies Can Skirt By Using Forced Arbitration

9 Federal Laws That Companies Can Skirt By Using Forced Arbitration

There are numerous federal laws that explicitly give wronged consumers the right to file a lawsuit against the company that harmed them, but all those statutory rights are being taken away by companies that insert arbitration clauses into their terms of service. [More]

Why You Should Opt Out Of Forced Arbitration, In 3 Sentences


While more and more companies are adding “forced arbitration” clauses to their terms of service, only a handful of these businesses are offering customers the choice to opt out of this part of the contract. Here are the reasons why you should take advantage of that option whenever possible. [More]

DropBox Jumps On Forced Arbitration Bandwagon, But Offers Online Opt-Out

DropBox Jumps On Forced Arbitration Bandwagon, But Offers Online Opt-Out

Another company is taking the coward’s way out of resolving legal disputes with its customers by tweaking its Terms of Service to take away users’ rights to take the company to court and to prevent multiple users from having their complaints heard as a group. This time, it’s online storage service Dropbox, which is currently notifying users of the bad news. [More]

CFPB Report Confirms That Banks & Credit Card Companies Are Taking Away Your Right To Sue

CFPB Report Confirms That Banks & Credit Card Companies Are Taking Away Your Right To Sue

In 2011, the Supreme Court held that it was A-OK to not only hide a complicated forced-arbitration clause in a novel-length contract for a consumer product or service, but that it was also just peachy that such a clause stripped the consumer of his/her right to bind together with other affected customers in a class action. Since then, sellers of everything from cellphone service to video games have added these complicated clauses in an attempt to keep complaining consumers out of court and into the unfair arena of arbitration. Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued its first report on forced arbitration, and the results are, sadly, not shocking. [More]

Charles Schwab Drops Class-Action Ban Clause From Contracts

Charles Schwab Drops Class-Action Ban Clause From Contracts

After AT&T somehow convinced the U.S. Supreme Court that a couple of sentences buried toward the end of a contract that maybe .05% of customers ever think about reading was all that was needed to preempt class-action lawsuits, many large companies have rushed to pack their user agreements and licenses with clauses that force customers into arbitration. But, stuck in a battle with an industry regulator, the folks at Charles Schwab have decided to go another way, announcing that they have gotten rid of the part of their arbitration clause that bans class-action suits… for now. [More]


Supreme Court To Decide Whether Companies Can Use Forced Arbitration To Skirt Federal Laws

It’s been nearly two years since the Supreme Court slapped U.S. consumers across the face, ruling in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that companies could take away customers’ rights to class-action lawsuits by including a tiny arbitration clause in user agreements. Today, SCOTUS hears another arbitration case that could shift the balance even further in favor of corporations. [More]

Instagram's new TOS takes away your right to a class-action lawsuit, unless you opt out now.

Here’s How To Opt Out Of Instagram’s New Arbitration Clause

Among the other controversial changes to Instagram’s Terms of Service is a spanking new forced-arbitration clause that, as things do, effectively takes away consumers’ rights to band together in a class-action against the company. Thankfully, you can opt out of the clause in writing before Feb. 15, 2013. [More]

A friendly notice from TWC

Two Class-Action Suits Filed Over Time Warner Cable’s Modem Rental Fee

We had a hunch this would happen when Time Warner Cable unceremoniously gave customers two-weeks notice that they would soon be paying a monthly modem rental fee for equipment that was already installed — the cable company is now a defendant in two identical lawsuits filed earlier today. [More]


eBay Has A Zero-Tolerance Policy For Scammy Sellers (Who Haven’t Figured Out How To Game The System)

Recently we warned eBay buyers that they needed to make sure to complain about possible scams within 45 days or not only are they unable to get their money back, they can’t even leave negative feedback for the seller. We tried to get an explanation from eBay for this seemingly biased policy. Not surprisingly, eBay hasn’t been terribly forthcoming. [More]

Good advice.

American Express Tries To Sneak Forced Arbitration Clause On Users, Gives Until Feb. 15 To Opt Out

It’s the hot new trend in business: Forcing customers into binding arbitration that take away their rights to sue as a group. The latest to latch onto this trend is American Express, which did its best to hide the clause on the final pages of their statements, but which is also giving them until Feb. 15, 2013 to opt out. [More]


Will Opting Out Of eBay Arbitration Clause Get My Account Deleted?

For weeks, we’ve been reminding eBay customers that they have until Nov. 9 to opt out of a new forced arbitration clause in the website’s user agreement that takes away consumers’ right to band together in a class-action suit. We’ve also been hearing concern from people that their accounts will be closed by eBay if they choose to opt out. [More]