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Get Back Your Right To Take Your Bank To Court

Get Back Your Right To Take Your Bank To Court

Isaiah Poole
Wall Street, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and right-wing Republicans are ganging up again this week against consumers who want to hold financial institutions that rip them off accountable.

The target this time is a rule issued this week by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that is designed to restore the ability bank and credit card customers, as individuals or as a group, to take a financial dispute to court.

There’s an old legal concept we need to bring back that says that if the bargaining power of the two parties isn’t equal, and the contract is presented on a “take it or leave it” basis, then anything that can be construed against the stronger party will be construed against them. When banks start finding out that they can’t enforce their credit card agreements, or mortgages unless they can document that they fulfilled every single, tiny, legally-required step… But I dream…


This one is mandatory

The entire Consent Form process needs to undergo a Truth in Lending Moment.

No Recourse clauses
Arbitration mandates
Gag rules on settlements
Settlement/Fines without Admission of Guilt

These all need to go down.

Any process that hides the criminal or unethical behavior of the perpetrator should be deemed illegal


They can deregulate banks but oh no when consumers have the same option. People should be lining up to address these grievances because they have not changed their behavior since 5 million people lost their jobs and millions lost their homes. They will do it again if given the opportunity,

This is laissez-faire (libertarian) capitalism with market-driven self-regulation. Supposedly the banks would know this matters to customers and at least one of them would eliminate their arbitration clauses to make themselves more attractive.

Problem 1: Did Adam Smith figure on every industry out there devolving into a cartel? There’s no reason for one corporation to make itself more appealing if it knows it is perfectly safe as long as they all group together under the same dishonest practices.

Problem 2: Libertarianism places the contract (not “service agreement”) as the basis for judicial remediation. Without negotiation in a level playing field (i.e. a take-it-or-leave-it service standard), and without impartial judgment (i.e. litigation, or at least a provably impartial arbitrator,) the libertarian state loses power of enforcement and devolves into anarchy (or more accurately, plutocracy). This seems to be what most people (especially those calling themselves libertarian) don’t recognize, when they speak as if libertarianism means, “I should be allowed to do whatever I want,” or in terms of corporations, “if you don’t like it, you can take your business elsewhere”.

Hmm, there’s a syllogism in there somewhere.