CFPB’s Proposed Rule Would Put the Brakes on Pre-Dispute Arbitration Clauses in Consumer Financial Contracts

By Andrew C. Glass, Robert W. Sparkes, III, Roger L. Smerage, Joshua Butera

Congress enacted the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) in the 1920s to deter hostility toward arbitration. Despite numerous Supreme Court rulings over the decades upholding that goal, arbitration continues to face hostility. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), for example, recently issued a proposed rule that would significantly expand the scope of the Dodd-Frank Act’s restrictions on arbitration agreements. The rule would severely restrict the use of pre-dispute arbitration clauses by providers of consumer products and services, primarily by prohibiting the use of class action waivers. And under the proposed rule, the CFPB would exercise close scrutiny over arbitration proceedings by requiring consumer financial services providers to report certain information about arbitrations to the CFPB.

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