aside Sound The Alarm! US Senate Republicans Trying To Immunize Wells Fargo, Equifax From Lawsuits

With the US Senate’s republicans’ recent failure over their several attempts to pass their “repeal and replace” Obamacare healthcare bills while providing tax savings for the wealthy, they are not hard at work in their attempts to roll back a July (2017) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule that protects consumers from being denied their day in court. This rule bans most types of mandatory arbitration clauses that have become standard on the multi page contracts that consumers have been forced to sign.

The timing of this maneuver just happens to planned for a week before Wells Fargo and Equifax executives are supposed to testify in court. Both these financial companies have done real harm to their consumers in the form of gross negligence to creating fraudulent accounts.

Image result for photos of an equifax building

We the People need to fight back the republican US senators who are planning to enforce these financial companies’ demand that all their customers be forced into an arbitration settlement instead of them being allowed to have their day in court.

“We the people” can help by contacting our US senators to ask them to support consumers rights to sue by not being bound by arbitration clauses as per the July 2017 CFPB rule. 

The main US Senate phone line 202-225-3121 (202-224-3121) or  YOU CAN FIND PHONE NUMBERS FOR EVERY SENATOR HERE. or U.S. Senate: Senators of the 115th Congress.

TO FAX:  Resistbot will do it all for you. Text “RESIST” to 50409 or message Resistbot on Facebook and it will walk you through the steps to fax your Senator and will tell you when your fax has been delivered.

Here is the rest of the story..

On September 27, 2017, Alayna Teene of Axios penned the following report, Democratic leaders fight Senate arbitration vote.

“Senate Democratic leaders condemned Wednesday (9/27/17) the Senate’s impending vote on forced arbitration (when corporations require consumers to waive their right to sue), pointing to the fallout from recent scandals surrounding Equifax’s security breach and Wells Fargo’s fake-account scam as evidence of how the clause hurts people.”

What they’re protesting: “Republican leaders have been working to secure votes to overturn a July (2017) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule that protects consumers from being denied their day in court.”

 Timing: “The Republicans’ move to roll back the CFPB rule comes a week before Wells Fargo and Equifax executives will testify in court.”
  • GOP’s thinking: “By getting this vote out of the way before the hearings, Republicans can avoid gifting financial companies with forced arbitration clauses while Wells Fargo and Equifax execs get grilled in court.”
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SENATORS WARREN (R)/ SCHUMER (CENTER)

Quotes from Dem leaders:

  • Senate Minorty Leader Chuck Schumer: “We are simply urging our colleagues to say no to immunity to Wells Fargo, Equifax, or anyone else who does such horrible management deeds. We believe in allowing people to sue.”
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Forced arbitration clauses are a nasty surprise buried in the fine print that let credit card companies or big banks cheat people and get away with it. And that’s wrong.”
  • Patrick Leahy: “Wells Fargo wouldn’t have gone on as long as they did if they thought people could go after them… [In the end] the average person and the consumer gets hurt, and the CEO still gets millions in salaries every year.”Image result for photos of schumer leahy and warren

 

On September 27, 2017 Kevin Freking of the AP for the Washington Post penned the following report, “Dems wield Equifax, Wells Fargo in fight over arbitration.”

Excerpts:

“Democrats determined to stop Republicans from overturning a consumer-oriented rule are using the scandals roiling both companies to hammer the GOP’s efforts. A hack of Equifax’s computer system exposed the sensitive personal information of 143 million Americans. Wells Fargo was fined $100 million by federal regulators for its illegal sales practices in which employees trying to reach unrealistic sales goals opened accounts without customers’ permission.”

“In July (2017), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau decided to ban most types of mandatory arbitration clauses. The clauses require credit card or bank customers to use an arbitrator when they have a dispute rather than sue in court, and the clauses were commonly used by both companies.”

“The House has since voted to block the consumer bureau’s rule. Now the clock is ticking on action by Senate Republicans.”

“These companies did terrible, terrible wrong and they want to prevent consumers from having rights to sue them. That is outrageous,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said at a news conference Wednesday in the Capitol. “Put simply, we’re urging our Republican colleagues to say no to immunity for Equifax, Wells Fargo or anyone else who does such horrible financial misdeeds.”

 “Democrats argued that, without the new rule, companies will be able to keep private those disputes pursued through mandatory arbitration.”

“They allow corporate America to take advantage of a shadow justice system,” Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said of the arbitration clauses.

“Banks have strongly opposed banning arbitration clauses.”

“In voting to overturn the rule in late July, House Republicans said the average payout for consumers in financial class-action lawsuits was $32 and attorneys made nearly $1 million.”

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not scheduled a vote on repealing the rule, but Democratic aides said he is trying to get fellow Republicans on board with repeal of the rule.”

“Whether it is fake accounts at Wells Fargo or a massive data breach at Equifax, recent scandals have demonstrated that consumers need to access the justice system when a big, powerful company opens accounts in their name, without their consent, and leaves them vulnerable to fraud by failing to secure their personal data,” said Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.”

 “Equifax, after criticism from consumer advocacy groups, announced that it had removed arbitration clauses for those who enroll in its free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.”

11 comments

  1. I may be a little dense here but why are the GOP trying to overturn this rule? Are they major shareholders in the institutions that are bound by this clause and will therefore suffer if customers get their day in court? I applaud the move by the Democrats to block this move since I assume many of their millionaire’s could also be shareholders in the same companies.
    Hugs

  2. Gronda, this is disappointing. All Amercans need to understand what the words “freeing up business from needless regulation” or “Let’s avoid frivolous lawsuits” mean. Quite simply they mean these companies gave my campaign lots of money and we need to give them free rein to make as much money off you as possible. Your rights are secondary to that of business leaders.

    One of the best stories shared by Elizabeth Warren before the CFPB was created is she spoke with a major bank about helping people consolidate and pay down debt, rather than just making money off the process. The CEO said that is how we make money and dismissed her from the meeting. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      This is why we needed the CFPB to protect average consumers who would get fleeced otherwise. This July 2017 rule not letting companies get away with making peoples sign away their rights to sue when agents of companies do something seriously fraudulent or grossly negligent.

      These are republicans again who will end up hurting their own constituents to cater to the business big donor class.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Agreed. When people don’t pay attention to real news, they don’t recognize they are being screwed. It is akin to some saying you can repeal Obamacare, just don’t take my ACA coverage.

  3. The problem I have with Equifax is that consumers are not their customers. No one asked Equifax to obtain and retain their private and personal information. When consumers apply for credit, it’s the companies that use Equifax. Yet, Equifax and other credit reporting bureaus SELL services to consumers to protect their information — information that they didn’t give Equifax authority to retain and give out, which then makes them customers.

    In other words, credit reporting bureaus created the need for protection services by having agreements with companies/customers, and not by having agreement with consumers.

    • Dear Xena,

      You are right on the money. We did not sign up for their services but we are forced into dealing with them because this is the system.

      Equinox was responsible for keeping our info safe. And this company is not consumer friendly. In 2014, I froze my accounts with all 3 credit bureaus because I had been pick-pocketed. I did everything in writing because i did not trust their reps.

      This company deserves to pay a price.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Several years ago I contacted the agencies because they had me living at addresses I never lived at. The last I checked several months ago, they still had those addresses on my report. Their reason for not removing them is because I can’t prove I never lived there or used those addresses for mail. Of course, I can’t prove a negative. So, I asked for their proof that I did live at those addresses or received mail there. Silence.

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