Monopoly man just crashed the Equifax Senate Hearing to tell Richard Smith “Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.”
The Equifax data breach, supposedly caused by the mistake of a single employee, exposed the personal information of approximately 146 million Americans. CEO Richard Smith stepped down last week, apologizing to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and those whose information was compromised during the security lapse.
Smith attempted to downplay the severity of the breach all the while deflecting inquiries about what Equifax would do to compensate those who were financially harmed. An “individual” was referenced many times, who failed to implement software fixes that would have prevented the lapse in security.
Although no longer employed by Equifax, Smith is the only representative of the company to testify at the series of congressional hearings to be held.
What’s Happening Now:
Public Citizen, an advocacy group promoting corporate accountability, sent Rich Uncle Pennybags to send a message. The monocle-wearing, top-hatted Monopoly man was meant to represent forced arbitration giving Equifax a monopoly over the justice system.
The woman behind the mustache, Amanda Werner, wore her get-up in protest to massive companies such as Equifax and Wells Fargo (who is also due in court following the sale of 3.5 million fraudulent bank accounts) that use forced arbitration as a metaphorical “get out of jail free card.”
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) October 4, 2017
In forced arbitration, a consumer or employee is required to submit any dispute to a company as a condition of employment or consumption of 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- often giving the bank an advantage.
“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.”
In 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was founded by Elizabeth Warren in attempt to protect consumers from corporate fraud and exploitation. After several years of research studies, the CFPB established an Arbitration Rule this past July:
“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.”
The Trump administration has hopes of killing the arbitration rule to benefit corporations despite the harm it would cause the average consumer. Equifax has already won a substantial $7.25 million fraud detection deal from the IRS, just the beginning of their profit made from their slip up. The company is also looking to add to their fortune with their creditor monitoring and identity theft products.
In the wake of the current administration’s game-play attitude towards draining regular Americans’ money, perhaps we should turn to Monopoly man-chic.
H/T: The Hill