The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a government agency looking “to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans,” recently announced the launch of a public inquiry into how consumers and financial services companies are affected by arbitration and arbitration clauses. Through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Congress requires the CFPB to study this topic and gives the CFPB the power to issue regulations for the protection of consumers.
Through a Request for Information on Arbitration, the CFPB will ask the public about the prevalence of arbitration clauses in consumer financial products and services, what claims consumers bring in arbitration against financial services companies, whether claims are brought by financial services companies against consumers in arbitration, how consumers and companies are affected by conducting arbitrations, and how consumers and companies are affected by arbitration clauses outside of actual arbitrations. The CFPB is also seeking suggestions and comments relating to the scope of the study itself.
The CFPB intends to use the results of the inquiry to assess whether rules relating to arbitration and arbitration clauses are needed to protect consumers.