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

Don Owens, Deputy Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7767

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779

David Rosen, Press Officer, Regulatory Affairs
w. (202) 588-7742

Nicholas Florko, Communications Officer, Global Trade Watch
w. (202) 454-5108

Other Important Links

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

Follow us on Twitter


Aug. 13, 2009

Coalition Encouraged by Bank of America's Decision to Stop Using Forced Arbitration; Now Congress Must Act

The Fair Arbitration Now Coalition is encouraged by Bank of America’s decision to stop requiring its customers to resolve their disputes in the unfair system of forced arbitration. Forced arbitration clauses – which are buried in the fine print of everything from credit card terms and employee handbooks to nursing home admissions forms – eliminate consumers’ and employees’ access to the courts and require that they submit their disputes to a private system designed by corporations to favor their interests. 

Bank of America says it is making this change in response to complaints from its customers. This confirms recent polling conducted by Lake Research, which found that 60 percent of Americans polled oppose forced arbitration. Bank of America has finally listened to its customers; however, thousands of other banks, private employers, nursing homes, auto dealers and deposit institutions are still using forced arbitration every day to deny consumers and employees a fair shake.

Bank of America’s decision follows last month’s lawsuit by the Minnesota Attorney General against the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), the largest arbitration company in the country, alleging that the NAF committed fraud and engaged in false advertising and deceptive practices by misrepresenting its neutrality and hiding its ties to the debt collection industry.   The NAF quickly settled by agreeing to stop accepting all future consumer arbitrations. 

These recent developments reinforce what many advocates of fair arbitration have known for a long time – that the system of forced arbitration is unfair to consumers and employees and allows corporations to escape accountability. Only Congress can protect all Americans by passing the Arbitration Fairness Act, a bill that would prohibit the enforcement of forced arbitration clauses in consumer, employment, and franchisee contracts.


Copyright © 2016 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.