The CFPB is finally issuing its arbitration rule! I have not yet fully read the rule, but the substance seems to say the same as the proposed rule. It doesn’t make arbitration clauses unenforceable, just the use of arbitration clauses to preclude class actions. Essentially, the press release read in part:
“Today’s rule prohibits banks and other consumer financial companies from including mandatory arbitration clauses that block group lawsuits in any new contracts after the compliance date. The rule does not bar arbitration clauses outright. For these new contracts, however, these clauses have to say explicitly that they cannot be used to stop consumers from banding together to pursue relief as a group. The rule includes the specific language that financial companies must use. By restoring the ability of consumers to file or join group lawsuits, the rule gives companies more incentive to comply with the law. And the deterrent effect of such cases can more broadly influence the business practices of other companies as well.
Our new rule also requires companies to submit their claims, awards, and other information about the arbitration of individual disputes to the Bureau. This will help us better monitor arbitrations to make sure the process is fair for individual consumers. The companies are required to scrub these materials of personal information, and starting in July 2019, we will also post them on our website. This will promote transparency and give consumers, providers, and other regulators more insight into how arbitration works. “
We do not know where this will lead but it is a new step in arbitration law. Also, I again caution that the full rule is at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/201707_cfpb_Arbitration-Agreements-Rule.pdf.