Vermont consumer advocates press Congress on forced arbitration

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Vermont consumer advocates press Congress on forced arbitration

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 2:49pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Consumer advocates from Vermont and around the country will meet with their members of Congress on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, as part of Consumer Justice Lobby Day, sponsored by the National Consumer Law Center and the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

Among other issues, advocates will focus on:

Forced arbitration: Last month, Congress blocked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule that would have stopped financial giants like Wells Fargo and Equifax from preventing people who were cheated from joining together to have their day in court. The fight over the rule and the outrage over Congress’s action have galvanized people to push for reform.  

“Forced arbitration denies consumers, including students defrauded by for-profit colleges, their constitutional right to choose to have their day in court,” said Joshua Cohen, Vermont state chair for the National Association of Consumer Advocates. “The Arbitration Fairness Act restores that right and helps level the playing field for student borrowers and Vermonters seeking justice.”

Legal services funding:  President Trump has proposed to eliminate all funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).  LSC funds civil legal aid programs in all 50 states, in rural and urban areas, and for military personnel and veterans.  The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an appropriation bill that cuts funding and would deny access to justice to 400,000 Americans, but the Senate package would protect LSC.  

“Civil legal-aid programs already struggle to meet the legal needs of low-income and vulnerable Vermonters,” said Cohen. “Eliminating funding for these programs would ensure justice is reserved only for those who can afford it.”

Consumer protection:  Advocates will also push for strong consumer protection, including reforms in the area of credit reporting and abusive debt collection as well as a strong and independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Since 1969, the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has worked for consumer justice and economic security for low-income and other disadvantaged people, including older adults, in the U.S. through its expertise in policy analysis and advocacy, publications, litigation, expert witness services, and training.

The National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) is a nonprofit association of private and public sector attorneys, legal services attorneys, law professors, and law students whose primary focus is the protection and representation of consumers. NACA is actively engaged in promoting a fair and open marketplace that forcefully protects the rights of consumers, particularly those of modest means.

Source: Washington, D.C. - National Consumer Law Center 11.9.2017

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