JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. credit-card issuer, is reviving a controversial policy that forces credit-card customers to use arbitration instead of court to resolve payment disputes.
The bank has been notifying customers of the change in recent days, by email. The revised policy affects the bulk of JPMorgans credit cards, including the popular Sapphire Reserve, and prevents customers from banding together to bring class-action lawsuits.
The reversal comes nearly a decade after JPMorgan agreed to drop the clause from contracts for at least three and a half years to help settle an antitrust lawsuit. The banks checking and savings accounts already include provisions for forced arbitration, according to spokeswoman Mary Jane Rogers. While banks say mandatory arbitration is faster and cheaper for the public than litigation, consumer advocates say the practice lets financial institutions avoid accountability.
Arbitration has long been a standard practice in our consumer banking and auto finance businesses, Rogers said. In consolidating our credit-card company charter into the bank, it was timely to create a consistent experience across our consumer businesses.
The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized a rule in 2017 that would’ve barred the use of forced-arbitration clauses in contracts for credit cards, bank accounts, and other financial products. President Donald Trump signed a bill undoing the rule shortly after.
The change affects all but one of JPMorgans 16 credit cards. By accepting this arbitration agreement you GIVE UP YOUR RIGHT TO GO TO COURT (except for matters that may be taken to a small claims court), according to the updated agreement.
Customers can opt out if they mail a written rejection notice by August 9.
Similar arbitration clauses prevented Wells Fargo & Co. customers from joining together to challenge the bank after employees were accused of opening millions of accounts without clients permission.