When the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Services are protecting our country, they should not have to worry about financial frauds and schemes at home. To alleviate some of this burden, Congress passed the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which grants certain legal protections to members of the military. Unfortunately, corporations including USAA and JPMorgan Chase have found a way to violate the SCRA law without being held accountable -- forced arbitration.
The New York Times exposed this abusive practice today in a front page story that you can read here. As you will see, this is not limited to service members' rights. This could - and likely does - apply to you because forced arbitration is found in everything from cell phone contracts, to bank terms of service, to even nursing home admission forms.
Here's how the forced arbitration scheme works: corporations bury legal language called a forced arbitration clause in the fine print of their take-it-or-leave it contracts. These clauses say that if you have a dispute with the corporation, you cannot go to court, but instead must bring your claim to a private arbitration company usually chosen by the corporation. In arbitration, you do not have the same rights as you do in court and the arbitrator's decision is final with little to no chance for you to appeal.
Simply put, it's a rigged game and corporations are exploiting it to evade accountability when they break the law, steal from consumers, and injure our families.
The good news is there is something we can do. First we need to spread the word and further expose the corporations that abuse the fine print. Second, our government officials need to hear from us that this practice must end. Luckily, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is currently considering ways to stop banks and loan providers from using forced arbitration.
Will you join me in the fight to end forced arbitration? Here are three quick things you can do TODAY:
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