The opportunity for JPMorgan Chase credit cardholders to opt out of binding arbitration expires in a month.
The bank recently notified customers that their right to sue over grievances connected to their Chase credit cards will go away unless they speak up by the first week in August.
The bank’s move to cut off its credit card customers from lawsuits comes amid a debate over the merits of mandatory arbitration, a process in which two parties must abide by the decision of an adjudicator who is legally empowered to assess damages.
According to Consumer Reports, Chase told its customers that to opt out, they must send a letter stating that they “reject this agreement to arbitrate” and must include their name, account number, address and signature to Chase at P.O. Box 15298, Wilmington, DE 19850-5298.
A file photo dated 11 May 2012 showing a view of a sign at a JPMorgan Chase building in New York. (Photo: JUSTIN LANE, EPA)
The decision affects nearly 50 million Chase accounts, according to Business Insider.
About 72% of banks had some form of mandatory arbitration clause as of 2016, up from 59% in 2013, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts study of 29 banks.
President Donald Trump signed legislation in late 2017 repealing a regulation that would have effectively banned the practice.
Mandatory arbitration ban overturned: Senate rejects new rule allowing class-action suits against banks
Critics of mandatory arbitration say it shields big banks from large payouts and prevents customers from getting deserved compensation. Supporters say it blocks lawyers from cashing in on class-action cases and is a cheaper and faster process.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
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