For Immediate Release - July 28, 2017

AG Healey Leads 20 State Coalition Urging Congress to Protect Legal Rights of Victimized Consumers

Leads Coalition of State Attorneys General in Letter to U.S. Senate Leadership

BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey led a coalition of 20 attorneys general in urging U.S. Senate leaders not to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Arbitration Rule, which stops companies from forcing consumers to sign away their legal rights.

The House recently passed a Joint Resolution of Disapproval that would set aside the CFPB’s rule under the Congressional Review Act. The attorneys general are asking the Senate to oppose that resolution and support consumers’ rights to go to court to assert their claims against financial institutions. 

“As state attorneys general, we have spent decades fighting companies that trick consumers into terms and fees buried in the fine print,” AG Healey said. “This rule would put an end to hidden clauses that prevent consumers from going to court and banding together to fight unfair and illegal practices. We urge the U.S. Senate to keep the Rule in place so that all consumers have a chance to be heard in court.”

The multistate letter, led by AG Healey, was sent today to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

“The CFPB’s Arbitration Rule would deliver essential relief to consumers, hold financial services companies accountable for their misconduct, and provide ordinary consumers with meaningful access to the civil justice system,” the letter states.

In August 2016, AG Healey led a coalition of attorneys general in sending a multistate letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray supporting the CFPB’s rulemaking and calling for the restoration of these protections for consumers.  

Restrictions on participation in class action cases are routinely inserted by financial institutions into contracts for financial products such as credit cards, payday loans, and checking accounts. Many consumers enter contracts without being aware that they are relinquishing significant rights, including their rights in court.

The states that participated in this letter include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia and Hawaii’s Office of Consumer Protection.