The Center for Responsible Lending is reporting that Minnesota's attorney general may have scored a victory for consumers nationwide in the "forced arbitration wars." A Minnesota Attorney General lawsuit against the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) ended forced arbitration in credit card contracts in that state. You can read more about it here: Credit-Card Disputes Tossed into Disarray.
NAF had processed what is estimated to be 200,000 forced arbitrations a year so it clearly was the "king" of the forced arbitration game.
At the same time, the Minn. AG lawsuit was strangely settled almost immediately with a press release announcement that came out the Sunday after the case was filed in court and just days before a Congressional committee release its findings which scalded NAF's forced arbitration program. It appears that the lawsuit, and the settlement, may actually have been intended to take some of the "bite" out of the Congressional committee's report. It would be a shame if the Minn. AG was somehow party to actually aiding NAF's agenda, but we'll have to wait and see on that one.
Meanwhile, apparently the American Arbitration Association (AAA, another private group that, like NAF did, also claims to be independent) told the Minn. AG that they did almost no credit card debt forced arbitrations and had put their own 'safeguards' in place to try to avoid some of the obvious bias and self-interest problems that rampantly ran behind the scenes, suspected but unproven, to consumers. Still AAA said it would no longer handle credit card debt forced arbitrations.
Meanwhile a class action was filed in Illinois on behalf of Illinois consumers who lost their "rigged" forced arbitration cases since 2007, sueing credit card gian MBNA/FIA and the debt collection law firm Mann Bracken. According to allegations NAF had direct ties to both the debt collection industry and the Mann Bracken law firm, and even had special nick names for the debt collectors that it routinely favored with its arbitration decisions against consumers.
If you're a victim of the NAF forced arbitration game, contact us about your legal rights.
It appears that millions of consumers may have been forced to pay millions of dollars to debt collectors who had paid NAF handsomely to give them money judgments against consumers, in the NAF forced arbitration ripoff.
These forced arbitration companies aren't going away any time soon. There's too much money to be had, so you can expect the forced arbitration game to continue to be rigged in favor of big business. Like we have said many a time before, forced arbitration simply sucks.
Burdge Law Office
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