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Help us design a consumer survey about mandatory pre-dispute arbitration


As part of our effort to study the use of mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts, today we are proposing to conduct a nationwide telephone survey of 1,000 credit card holders.

In Section 1028 of the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress instructed us to complete a study about arbitration. We released a Request For Information last year seeking input on the scope, methods and data for the study. A number of commenters recommended we survey consumers, and we agree. Hearing directly from consumers will help us do this job better.

Our proposed survey will explore consumer awareness of dispute resolution terms in credit card agreements. The survey will gather information about consumers’ perceptions, preferences, and assumptions related to arbitration proceedings. And the survey will let us put those findings in context by asking similar questions about court proceedings, including class action cases. We’ll incorporate what we learn from the survey into our study.

We have released a proposed survey questionnaire as well as an initial plan for how we would gather this data.

Comments must be received on or before August 6, 2013 to be assured of consideration. Please let us know what you think.

After this comment period closes, we will refine the proposal based on the feedback we receive, then publish an updated proposal and accept comments on it for another 30 days.

  • Debt Suspension Rights

    Having been put through the wringer while having the utmost integrity, I would suggest the following. Consumers need debt suspension rights, and those rights should not be equal to all debtors. The longer one has shown the ability to pay their debts, the more latitude they should get, this would prevent the scammers who want to get in, suspend a debt, and get out and disappear.

    Consumers who offer a debt instrument plan to their credit card company before a credit card goes into default should not be taken to court if the reason for the debt instrument offering is caused by a life situation that is beyond their control, such as crime victim, major illness, natural disaster, fire damage, accident victim, medical emergency, CareGiving for a family member, or loss of industry, meaning the industry one was trained for is being displaced by newer technologies. Those are legitimate reasons to call “time out”. A time out is exactly what the banks got when they got their bailout. For years people have complained that banks got a bailout while the consumer got very little.

    It becomes obvious that legitimate debt suspension rights for consumers would level the playing field against the banks, wall street, and even our own government.

    • Debt Suspension Rights

      I would also like to add that debtors should be allowed to plead involuntary default vs voluntary default in court. If the judge agrees that the alleged default is involuntary, the judge would be allowed latitude to freeze the debt at the amount of the last payment/transaction made on the account with no more interest rate charges, penalties or fees tacked on.

      The debtor agrees to parcel out a certain percentage of their future monthly income to pay down the debt. The debt is reported as a neutral on collections, but if payments do come in, it can be reported as a positive in the future. This would clear up a significant majority of all the unnecessary court actions against debtors and would prevent unrelenting negative scores while still paying off a debt that never ends because of unending interest rate charges.

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