It seems that consumers just can’t win anymore in America. I already wrote about the FCC trying to kill net neutrality, and how ISP duopolies are trying to kill municipal competition through local governments – both things that if kept alive would be great for protecting consumers against the reigns of big industry players. And now, Americans have another anti-consumer piece of legislation to worry about.
Senate just voted to strike a federal rule passed in July that prevented financial companies that bind their users by arbitration agreements from prohibiting those same consumers from suing as a class. Meaning that even if you unknowingly agreed to an arbitration clause somewhere on the 48th page of a Terms of Service (something Equifax seriously tried to do), you would still be able to sue if there was any sufficient wrongdoing.
This vote allows companies to actually bind users to those arbitration clauses. To give you an example of what this means, it prevents consumers affected by the Equifax hack to be able to sue the company, instead they are forced to go to a private court for arbitration.
But this isn’t just about Equifax. This is about an alarmingly trend in the United States that protects large corporations from the consequences of their actions – above and beyond any concern for the little guy.
The vote was 50/50 along party lines except for 2 republicans, with the tie-breaking “Yes” vote cast by VP Pence. This is just another piece of evidence that the Republican-led Congress is one that is beholden to corporations and not the people. With a vote this anti-consumer, I am afraid of what other legislation will be passed if there isn’t a serious shakeup in the 2018 mid-term elections. If Americans who value consumer protections in all of its forms don’t stand up to the blatant corruption in our government, this is just the tip of the iceberg.