Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Barbara Holzer, Broadcast Manager
w. (202) 588-7716
bholzer@citizen.org

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779
kgower@citizen.org

Dan Hockensmith, Communications Officer (Global Trade Watch)
w. (202) 454-5108
dhockensmith@citizen.org

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog
Facebook/publiccitizen

Follow us on Twitter

 

Fair Arbitration Now Coalition

July 14, 2009

Consumer Financial Protection Agency Bill is Right to Address Forced Arbitration, Says Coalition

Today, the Senate Banking Committee will hear testimony on the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The following is a statement from David Arkush* of the Fair Arbitration Now Coalition regarding the House draft of the bill (H.R. 3126), sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass):

"The new Consumer Financial Protection Agency should provide a critical check on the unscrupulous practices of the financial industry that have inflicted economic hardship on American families.

"We are encouraged that the House bill addresses forced arbitration. Ending this predatory practice in consumer financial contracts is critical to protecting consumers and restoring accountability in the financial marketplace.

"Forced arbitration clauses are hidden in the fine print of everyday consumer contracts from job applications and nursing home agreements to credit card billing inserts and mortgage loans. Corporations use these one-sided arbitration clauses as a shield to avoid accountability and a sword to hound consumers for debts they may not even owe.

"We look forward to working with members of Congress in the coming weeks to strengthen the House language and ensure that the legal rights of Americans are safeguarded against predatory financial corporations."

The Fair Arbitration Now Coalition has more than 70 members and supporters, representing consumers, employees, homeowners and franchise holders. The groups range from Public Citizen, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Employment Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice to Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America.

Two other bills have been introduced that would stem the abusive practice of forced arbitration. The bipartisan Arbitration Fairness Act (S. 931 / H.R. 1020), sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), would ensure that the decision to arbitrate is made voluntarily and after a dispute has arisen, so corporations cannot manipulate the arbitration system in their favor at the expense of consumers and employees. The bipartisan Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act (S. 512 / H.R. 1237), introduced by Sens. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), would eliminate forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts.

* David Arkush is the Director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

For more information, visit www.FairArbitrationNow.org.

Copyright © 2014 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.