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Armed Forces and Forced Arbitration

Despite Efforts, the Fine Print Still Casts a Shadow on Financial Protections for Military Members

Oct. 8, 2012 — Predatory lending is a widespread problem affecting millions of consumers. Due to unique circumstances, the U.S. military in particular has compelling reasons for shielding its service members from unscrupulous financial products and services. The Department of Defense has observed that pre-dispute binding mandatory (or "forced") arbitration clauses, present in most lending and credit contracts, inhibit service members’ ability to resolve disputes and seek remedies for lenders’ misconduct. The most effective solution to address forced arbitration for military borrowers is a law or regulation that covers all consumers. A single rule by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau restricting the practice in all contracts for financial services and products will restore the rights of military members and civilian consumers.

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