World
US CFPB Says You Should Be Able to Sue Your Bank
Agency proposes new rules that would allow for restitution through class-action litigation
 
The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau believes that consumers wronged by their credit card company or student loan provider should be entitled to their day in court. The agency has proposed new rules that would ban financial firms from imposing arbitration clauses that strip consumers of their right to pursue restitution as part of a class-action lawsuit. 
 
“Consumers should not be asked to sign away their legal rights when they open a bank account or credit card,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Companies are using the arbitration clause as a free pass to sidestep the courts and avoid accountability for wrongdoing.”
 
Forced arbitration clauses, which are often tucked away in contracts or terms and conditions agreements, allow for disputes between consumers and companies to be settled by privately appointed individuals, or arbitrators, rather than through the courts. But the CFPB says the scales of justice in this arrangement can be unfairly tilted toward the company.
 
“Often the harm to an individual consumer may be too small to make it practical to pursue litigation, even when the overall harm to consumers is significant,” the CFPB said in a statement released Wednesday. “In cases involving small injuries of anything less than a few thousand dollars, it can be difficult for a consumer to find a lawyer to handle their case.”
 
That’s why it is important that consumers have the option to join together in bringing a class-action lawsuit that not only seeks restitution for all affected class members but an injunction against the company to prevent future wrongdoing, the CFPB said. The agency said the rules change would empower tens of millions of consumers who have arbitration clauses in the contracts for the products they use, many of whom aren’t even aware of the agreement.
 
See TINA.org’s continuing coverage of arbitration issues here
 

User

Give Us this Day Our Daily Bread…
… And a sense of humour
 
It is not usual for us to copy-paste from others’ work; but, this time, we make an exception. The language, used in the report, is so filled with beautiful phrases that it would be a shame to change it.
 
This story is about bread; ‘Promised’ bread. Do we get what we pay for? Do we get what we think we are getting? It also involves the accuracy of the complaint and whether it meets the standards of evidence required in a suit for damages.
 
Some members of a community took the local baker to court. They complained that the bread, which was advertised as fresh, was not really so. Not oven-fresh. The thin red line and the reasonable man, once again. 
 
You be the judge.
 
If you asked for ‘fresh’ bread, what is it that you would expect? Hot? Warm? Cooled down? An hour out of the oven? Two hours? Or more? Where does one draw the line? And is there any place a line can be drawn?
 
Asking for relief, per se, is not a valid claim. There has to be tangible damage. Quantifiable, substantial, tangible, verifiable, linked, misrepresented. It’s not that easy to convince the courts.
 
We quote:
 
“The warranty claims disintegrated into mere crumbs. An express warranty claim ‘requires a plaintiff to allege that she brought a product based on a particular promise regarding that product, which ultimately proved false.’ But, again, the plaintiffs cannot successfully plead such a claim without identifying in the complaints any specific sign or advertisement they saw and the products they purchased as a result. Again, the plaintiffs simply did not satisfy the recipe.”
 
The court slices open the plaintiffs’ allegations and finds more puff than filling. 
 
“… conclusory allegations regarding numerous potential purchases of various products over a substantial period of time with the mere spectre of supposedly misleading advertisements generally existing in Defendants’ stores and websites will not suffice.
 
The claims for injunctive and declaratory relief also found their way to the waste bin. There was no plausible claim of threat of immediate harm. How could there be?  After all, the plaintiffs disclaimed any intention to continue to purchase the defendants’ bread and bakery products. Instead, the plaintiffs argued that they were entitled to injunctive relief based on the threat of future harm to other consumers. How thoughtful. How inadequate.” 
 
We add our metaphors. Ingredients. All actionable laws are dependant on a set of facts that needs to be satisfied before action can be taken using them. These are the ‘ingredients’. Just as one needs a number of things, ingredients, to make a really tasty dish, so is it with law. The how, why, when, where, what, which, who, are questions that must be answered before rushing to court. Lest one is shown the door for inadequate preparation or missing ingredients. This is, in fact, in crime matters, not only a prerequisite, but a mandatory one. One missing ingredient and accusations become as unpalatable as stale tea. 
 
“We will end with the icing on the cake, the aspect of the case that is most relevant to… law. The plaintiffs’ claims under the New Jersey consumer protection statute appeared to rely on regulations. But it is ‘well settled… that the FDCA creates no private right of action.” The plaintiffs in this bakery fraud case could not use the New Jersey statute “to bootstrap a FDCA claim they could not otherwise bring.” That is a tasty result.  
 
Plus there’s this: “… all lawyers should know that one cannot walk into Judge’s courtroom with legal arguments that are half-baked.”
 
Who says that judgements must read like ancient prose? Why cannot an order from the court taste like a buffet that starts with, and ends with, desserts? Cannot the text emanating from our judicial authorities be preserved, as much for the thought, as for the language? Taste and tasty? A pleasure to read, over and over again.
 
Lip-smacking justice, anyone?
 

(Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to [email protected])

User

Nifty, Sensex may stall – Wednesday closing report
Nifty has to close above 8,115 for the upmove to continue
 
We had mentioned in the Tuesday’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex are still on track for a rise and that Nifty has to stay above 8,075 for the rally to continue. The major indices in the Indian stock markets were volatile during the day’s trading and closed with small gains. 
 
 
The indices were choppy throughout the day's trade driven by investors’ anxiety over the upcoming quarterly results and rising crude prices. The indices were depressed after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report downgraded India's growth to 7.3% for the current fiscal. Another major dampener came as international crude oil prices rose sharply in the past few days and were hovering around the $50-mark, after rallying nearly five dollars on Tuesday. The jump in the oil prices comes after the US Energy Information Administration cited lower inventory build-up and Russia's decision to hold talks with other major producers to discuss the market situation. Profit booking was witnessed in information technology (IT) and banking stocks.
 
The rupee too made gains during the day's trade. It gained by 43 paise to close at a new eight-week high of 64.98 to a US dollar from its previous close of 65.41 against the greenback.
 
Sector-wise, automobiles, metals and oil and gas stocks witnessed healthy buying, whereas, information technology (IT) and technology, entertainment and media (Teck) scrip came under intense selling pressure.
 
The S&P BSE automobile index zoomed by 243.48 points, metal index augmented by 197.05 points and oil and gas index rose by 115.92 points.
 
The S&P BSE IT index receded by 188.49 points and Teck index declined by 87.10 points.
 
Major Sensex gainers during Wednesday's trade were: Hindalco Industries, up 9.64% at Rs.81.90; Vedanta, up 5.83% at Rs.90.70; Tata Steel, up 4.25% at Rs.236.80; ONGC, up 3.99% at Rs.256.90; and Bajaj Auto, up 3.14% at Rs.2,452.30.
 
The major Sensex losers were: Axis Bank down 1.92% at Rs.496.90; Infosys, down 1.88% at Rs.1,133.15; Wipro, down 1.78% at Rs.589.10; Bharti Airtel, down 1.66% at Rs.343.30; and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), down 1.51% at Rs.2,655.10.
 
The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
 
 
The closing values of Asian indices are given in the table below:
 
 
 
 

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)