Equifax CEO Richard Smith didn’t know what hit him as he testified before the Senate this morning regarding his company’s seismic security breach that recently exposed the sensitive personal financial information of nearly half of the U.S. population.
It turns out Amanda Werner, a woman who serves as an arbitration campaign manager for the long-running corporate accountability advocacy group Public Citizen, was sitting behind him dressed as”Rich Uncle Pennybags,” the monocled, mustachioed man in a top hat from the game Monopoly.
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) October 4, 2017
Her aim in wearing the hilarious get-up was to protest how massive companies like Equifax and Wells Fargo (who also face Senate hearings this week for selling 3.5 million fraudulent bank accounts) using forced arbitration as a “get out of jail free card,” just like in the game of Monopoly.
According to the National Association of Consumer Advocates:
In forced arbitration, a company requires a consumer or employee to submit any dispute that may arise to binding arbitration as a condition of employment or buying a product or service. The employee or consumer is required to waive their right to sue, to participate in a class action lawsuit, or to appeal.
Ms. Werner did not mince words in an interview with The Hill today:
‘Make no mistake: Arbitration is a rigged game, one that the bank nearly always wins,’ Werner said. ‘Shockingly, the average consumer forced to arbitrate with Wells Fargo was ordered to pay the bank nearly $11,000. Bank lobbyists and their allies in Congress are trying to overturn the CFPB’s rule so they can continue to rip off consumers with impunity.’
The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) was founded by Elizabeth Warren in 2011 to protect consumers from corporate fraud and exploitation.
After several years of research studies and proposals, they established an Arbitration Rule in July of this year:
Our new rule will restore the ability of groups of people to file or join group lawsuits. In some cases, not only will companies have to provide relief, they will also have to change their behavior moving forward.
People who would otherwise have to go it alone or give up, will be able to join with others to pursue justice and some remedy for their harm.
Two terrible truths have emerged in recent days.
One is that the Trump administration wants to kill the arbitration rule, in order to benefit already filthy-rich corporations at the expense of the average consumer.
The other is the Equifax stands to make a killing off of their own screw-up with their own creditor monitoring and identity theft products. To make matters worse, in a dumbfounding display of “failing up,” Equifax has just won a lucrative $7.25 million fraud detection contract from the IRS.
A Depression-era artist, writer, feminist and inventor, named Lizzie Magie, devised the game of Monopoly to highlight the evils of capitalism, then sold it to the Parker Brothers who ironically turned it into a big-money maker.
In light of how this “let them eat cake” administration is running away with regular Americans’ money, perhaps we should all start walking around with top hats, monocles and white mustaches.
— Allied Progress (@AlliedProgress) October 4, 2017
I definitely want to know more about the plans of this man sitting behind the Equifax CEO in Sen. banking hearing in a monopoly man outfit. http://pic.twitter.com/dwfukJJTA7
— Hannah Levintova (@H_Lev) October 4, 2017
— Jeremy Art (@cspanJeremy) October 4, 2017
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