Mandatory Binding Arbitration Will Go Under the CFPB’s Microscope

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It is a bit premature to start ringing the death knell for mandatory binding arbitration, but the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will have the authority to “prohibit or impose conditions” on arbitration clauses in financial services contracts.

This is good news. Mandatory binding arbitration is one more way that corporations end-around the civil justice system. And it keeps getting worse, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The new bill requires the CFPB to study arbitration in financial products and services, and report back to Congress. Based on the findings of its report, the CFPB may restrict the use of arbitration or ban it outright in financial products and services. We’ll hope for the latter.

SEC. 1028. AUTHORITY TO RESTRICT MANDATORY PRE-DISPUTE ARBITRATION.

(a) STUDY AND REPORT.—The Bureau shall conduct a study of, and shall provide a report to Congress concerning, the use of agreements providing for arbitration of any future dispute between covered persons and consumers in connection with the offering or providing of consumer financial products or services.

(b) FURTHER AUTHORITY.—The Bureau, by regulation, may prohibit or impose conditions or limitations on the use of an agreement between a covered person and a consumer for a consumer financial product or service providing for arbitration of any future dispute between the parties, if the Bureau finds that such a prohibition or imposition of conditions or limitations is in the public interest and for the protection of consumers. The findings in such rule shall be consistent with the study conducted under subsection (a).