ACCESS TO JUSTICE

» Fair Arbitration

» Patient Safety and Medical Liability

» Preserving State Consumer Laws

» Whistleblower Protections


Sign Up

to receive regular updates on our campaigns for access to justice and consumer protection.


Recent Reports

May 1, 2014 - Cases That Would Have Been
February 27, 2014 - Righting a Financial Wrong
Sept. 20, 2013 - Private Actions, Public Benefits
Aug. 6, 2013 - No Correlation
More - See More Access to Justice Reports

Righting a Financial Wrong

Debt Settlement Services, Private Student Lenders, and Auto Lenders Use Forced Arbitration to Escape Accountability When They Harm Consumers

February 27, 2014 — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in December 2013 released preliminary results of a study called for in the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on financial services businesses’ use of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. Such terms, or forced arbitration, call for disputes to be settled before a private arbitrator instead of in a court of law, and usually prohibit consumers from pursuing cases as a class.

The Bureau can make these industry sectors answerable for some of their shady practices by restoring consumers’ ability to enforce their rights on their own. The Bureau has the authority to write a rule to require the regulated consumer financial services industry to eliminate predispute binding mandatory (or forced) arbitration from consumer transactions involving all products under its jurisdiction.

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.