On May 5, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its much anticipated and highly controversial proposed regulation on restricting the use of class action waivers and arbitration provisions in consumer contracts. The CFPB’s proposal, if effectuated, would essentially overturn years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent by prohibiting the use of class action waivers in the majority of consumer contracts. This article will summarize the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence, explain the CFPB’s proposal and its legal basis, and outline steps companies can take to address the regulation before and after it goes into effect.
(Editor Note: CFPB enacted the final rule on July 10, 2017. On Oct. 17, 2022, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled the CFPB's funding mechanism was unconstitutional. On Nov. 14, 2022, the CFPB filed a writ of certiorari with the US Supreme Court requesting review of the decision in the 2022 term.)