Dems wield Equifax, Wells Fargo in fight over arbitration

Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., discusses the Republican tax plan during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017.

WASHINGTON — Equifax and Wells Fargo.

Democrats determined to stop Republicans from overturning a consumer-oriented rule are using the scandals roiling both companies to hammer the GOP’s efforts. A hack of Equifax’s computer system exposed the sensitive personal information of 143 million Americans. Wells Fargo was fined $100 million by federal regulators for its illegal sales practices in which employees trying to reach unrealistic sales goals opened accounts without customers’ permission.

In July, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau decided to ban most types of mandatory arbitration clauses. The clauses require credit card or bank customers to use an arbitrator when they have a dispute rather than sue in court, and the clauses were commonly used by both companies.

The House has since voted to block the consumer bureau’s rule. Now the clock is ticking on action by Senate Republicans.

“These companies did terrible, terrible wrong and they want to prevent consumers from having rights to sue them. That is outrageous,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said at a news conference Wednesday in the Capitol. “Put simply, we’re urging our Republican colleagues to say no to immunity for Equifax, Wells Fargo or anyone else who does such horrible financial misdeeds.”

Democrats argued that, without the new rule, companies will be able to keep private those disputes pursued through mandatory arbitration.

“They allow corporate America to take advantage of a shadow justice…

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