Fine print boilerplate is everywhere, but what can be done to stop it? Theresa Amato writes in The Nation that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should take four steps to promote fairness in consumer contracts:
- Prohibit forced arbitration clauses in consumer contracts
- Maintain a searchable database of all standard form contracts used by the industries it regulates
- Develop its own “consumer-road-tested contracts” and prohibit certain terms, such as those that prohibit public criticism of the business involved, or waive liability for negligence.
- Promote a “fair contract” symbol to make it easy to identify contracts which conform to the standards proposed.
Two debt brokers (businesses which buy junk debt, then sell it to other junk debt buyers) were sued by the FTC earlier this year for posting on the internet private personal financial information about individual consumers for public view, as part of their attempts to market portfolios of junk debt to JDBs.
CFPB has fined U.S. Bank over its sale of two add-on products to credit card customers. “Privacy Guard” and “Identity Secure” were paid services sold to credit card customers between 2003 and 2012.