"arbitration"

Wells Fargo's CEO told Congress that he wouldn't enforce binding arbitration, so Wells is getting sued in Utah

A class action suit by some of the 3,500,000+ Wells Fargo customers defrauded in the company's fake account scam was foundering in Utah, thanks to the company's insistence that its binding arbitration clauses also applied to the accounts it fraudulently opened (that is, by agreeing not to sue the company for defrauding you over the accounts you opened, you were also agreeing not to sue them if it opened a bunch more accounts and forged your signature on the papers). Read the rest

Wall Street and Trump are about to kill the CFPB, the only government agency that effectively polices bank scams, crimes and frauds

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (previously) is practically the only US regulator we can be proud of -- founded by Elizabeth Warren before she ran for the Senate, the CFRB is a consumer protection agency that has been at the forefront of reining in criminal activities like Wells Fargo's nationwide frauds and Equifax's dox attack on the USA, as well as being the best defense Americans have against predatory loan-sharks masquerading as "payday lenders," abusive debt-collectors, racial discrimination in lending, and the student loan racket. Read the rest

Those "heroic rogue GOP senators" just helped Trump shield Equifax and Wells Fargo from lawsuits

Senators Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and John McCain talk a big game about not letting the GOP be the handmaiden of trumpist corruption, but when the chips were down last night, they voted with their party and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Handmaid's Tale to pass legislation that lets financial institutions take away your right to sue them when they defraud you. Read the rest

How the Chicago School's extremist ideology destroyed the American economy with unchecked monopolies

There was a time when monopolistic control over sectors of the US economy was vigorously checked through antitrust enforcement, but the neoliberal ideology of the Chicago economists (Milton Friedman et al) has eroded competition in America by convincing regulators that monopolies only need to be policed under very specific (and almost unheard-of) circumstances. Read the rest

Corporations form coalition to ask a court to ban coalitions (of people the corporations have screwed over)

One of the major triumphs of Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was a rule that banned the finance industry from using binding arbitration clauses to prevent defrauded customers from joining in class action suits to sue crooked banks. Read the rest

"Monopoly Man" photobombs Equifax CEO's Senate hearing

Consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen's Amanda Werner, dressed as Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly game, sat behind former Equifax CEO Richard Smith this morning during his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee about the company's breach of 45,500,000 Americans' private data . From Public Citizen's statement:

Make no mistake: Arbitration is a rigged game, one that the bank nearly always wins. Shockingly, the average consumer forced to arbitrate with Wells Fargo was ordered to pay the bank nearly $11,000. Bank lobbyists and their allies in Congress are trying to overturn the CFPB’s rule so they can continue to rip off consumers with impunity.

(The Hill) Read the rest

John Oliver on monopolies, anti-trust and the death of real competitive markets

Lax anti-trust enforcement is destroying American democracy, growth and equality; it laid waste to minority-owned small businesses and "fleeced" the middle class, creating its own parallel "justice" system and laying waste to whole industries, with the complicity of the Democratic party (and the $1,000/hour expert "consulting" by superstar economists), and there's no end in sight, from Yahoo to Whole Foods. Read the rest

How to opt out of Equifax's rights-stripping arbitration clause

During the five weeks after hackers stole 143 million Americans' data from Equifax, and while its execs were selling off their stock by the millions, the company sprang into action, producing an insecure site for checking whether your own data was breached that produces the same output no matter what name and SSN you input. Read the rest

Equifax lobbied to take away breach victims' right to sue

Before Equifax doxed 143 million Americans (but after it had suffered repeated smaller breaches that should have alerted the company to deficiencies in its security), it directed its lobbying body, the Consumer Data Industry Association, to pressure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to exempt credit-reporting bureaux from a soon-to-begin rule banning binding arbitration clauses in user agreements. Read the rest

Amazon scammers' new trick: shipping things to random widows in your town

Ziemowit Pierzycki bought a $1500 used lens from an Amazon seller who turned out to be a scammer with an ingenious trick: the crook researched a recently widowed person across town and sent them a parcel with a couple of baking mats addressed to the deceased "or current resident." Read the rest

Desperate last-ditch attempt to save the right to sue abusive nursing homes

In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services barred nursing homes from forcing their residents into accepting binding arbitration agreements, insisting that nursing homes that engaged in neglect, physical or sexual abuse should be subject to legal consequences: but then the Trump administration killed the rule, giving a sweet gift to the giant nursing-home lobby and the Chamber of Commerce. Read the rest

A new, dubious "smart" cryptocurrency for prostitution

"Lust" is an initial coin offering based on the Ethereum blockchain platform, designed for prostitutes and their customers to exchange money for sexual services. Read the rest

Billions of dollars' worth of predatory student loans may... just... vanish

Private student loans are the worst of a bad bunch, with incredibly high interest rates and penalties on funds used to finance educations at the kinds of "universities" who later get their accreditations yanked for academic malpractice and deceptive advertising -- universities that target the most naive kids from the least educated backgrounds, load them up with debt, waste four years of their lives, and pop them out the door with a useless "degree."

Read the rest

AT&T: it's not "forced arbitration" because no one forced you to have broadband

AT&T, which has successfully lobbied state governments and the FCC to ban any broadband competition in the markets where it operates, says that its forced arbitration "agreements" aren't really forced, because people in the markets it serves could just not use the internet. Read the rest

Trump administration allows nursing homes to force abused seniors into binding arbitration

In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services barred nursing homes from forcing their residents into accepting binding arbitration agreements that would move all legal claims into business-friendly fake courts where the proceedings are often secret, and where the presiding fake judges draw their pay from the companies that are accused of malfeasance. Read the rest

A rare class-action victory over Wells Fargo's fake accounts proves binding arbitration sucks

Wells Fargo got caught ripping off millions of customers by setting up fake accounts in their names, then billing them for "services" related to those accounts, sometimes tanking their credit-ratings, costing them jobs, even their houses -- but the company says you're not allowed to sue them because their employees fraudulently signed your name to a "binding arbitration" agreement that forces you to take your case to a fake judge whose salary they pay. Read the rest

What's the difference between a CEO and a president?

Christopher Brown is a gonzo cyberpunk writer who delves into the real-world story of Saddam Hussein's Frank Frazetta collection, but by day he's a high-powered lawyer who's worked in government and the private sector (it's the intersection of these two Browns that penned his outstanding, forthcoming debut novel, Tropic of Kansas, which you should pre-order right now). Read the rest

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