New site www.ChaseOptOut.com will send a free opt-out letter for any Chase customer to opt out of forced arbitration provision
LOS ANGELES & OAKLAND, CA – June 11, 2019 (Updated June 18) – A group of startups, led by banking venture HM Bradley, consumer claims startup Radvocate, and robot-lawyer DoNotPay are teaming up to help J. P. Morgan Chase credit card holders opt out of a new contract provision that many observers say puts consumers at a disadvantage.
When Chase started informing customers last week that credit card accounts would now be subject to dispute procedures of the private arbitration system, rather than public courts, the change made national news and attracted attention among observers ranging from business outlets to the halls of Congress to credit card rewards gurus.
The startups’ new Opt-Out service helps users fill details into a template letter rejecting the company’s arbitration provision. The service automatically prints the resulting letter, which is then mailed and tracked through its arrival at Chase’s legal address.
For the many Chase customers, including millennials, for whom going to the post office may not be part of their standard routine, the service aims to make retaining their legal rights just a bit easier.
The service asks only for personal information required to complete Chase’s opt-out procedure, and does not store users’ sensitive account information. Data protection startup Very Good Security provides security support.
Under Chase’s new terms of service, any affected cardholder who does not want to be bound to arbitrate future disputes against the company must send a letter to a P.O. Box in Wilmington, Delaware, arriving by August 7.
Many cardholders view this as a power grab by the company, as it effectively forces any dispute with the company into a private court system. The changes comes after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently scuttled Obama-era rules that would have prevented financial companies from forcing arbitration.
Why go through the trouble of putting the service together? “We’re a group of like-minded companies who believe that treating customers well is the right thing to do,” reads the site.
HM Bradley co-founder and CEO Zach Brunke adds that the service ties into the company’s strategy of disrupting the short-term thinking of the American banking industry. “Many of us have grown up with financial institutions that always feel like they are out to get us,” says the experienced FinTech founder. “And that’s because, all too often, they are. We want to help Chase customers make a statement regarding their rights.”
Teel Lidow, Radvocate founder and CEO, agrees. “These banks have teams of lawyers tailoring their contracts to be as complicated and lopsided as possible. We want consumers to have the power to stand up to that in a simple and accessible way.”