Feds target arbitration clauses in banks’ fine print

NEW YORK – Consumers could band together to sue their banks or credit card companies under a federal rule issued Monday that’s likely to face resistance from Congressional Republicans and the.

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Banking. Banks, like Wells Fargo, use forced arbitration clauses in their contracts, forcing customers to sign away their right to go to court when opening a checking or savings account or getting a debit card or credit card. This means that any disputes between customers and banks over account fees, identity theft,

 · The move by the federal consumer financial protection Bureau ensures the right of customers to pursue class-action lawsuits against banks, mobile providers, and other corporations, a win for consumers who have been locked out of court by clauses buried deep in the fine print.

 · Mandatory Arbitration Clause Could Thwart Wells fargo customers’ lawsuits. Wells Fargo & Co. customers aiming to sue the bank over bogus accounts opened in their names may be in for an unpleasant surprise: the fine print requires them to take their claims to an arbitrator instead of a court.

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Mandatory arbitration clauses are found in the fine print of tens of millions of financial products, from credit cards to checking accounts. Because consumers generally don’t carefully read the fine print on the agreements for their checking accounts and credit cards, they are often unaware they are subject to arbitration.

BankThink Arbitration Clauses Trap Consumers with Fine Print. Companies use arbitration clauses to insulate themselves from litigation by consumers and employees. These clauses typically take away constitutional rights such as suing in court and pursuing a trial by jury and other rights like participating in class actions,

 · The fine print: 10 secrets your bank keeps. For example, nearly all cards have a default rate – as high as 30 percent – which banks apply when you’ve done something wrong, usually after two late payments in 12 months. But some banks have cut that to one, says Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com.

Forced-arbitration clauses disproportionately affect low-wage workers. While the law that guides arbitration agreements is federal, local and state governments are starting to take action to.