San Francisco Bay area consumers Wanda Greenwood, Ladelle Hatfield, and Deborah Mc Cleese each signed up for an Aspire Visa credit card marketed by Compu Credit Corp. of Atlanta, Georgia. The card was advertised as a means of rebuilding cardholders’ credit histories as well as providing $300 in immediate credit, with no down payment. The consumers claimed that fees hidden in the fine print of this “fee harvester” agreement claimed much of the $300 with the result that they were misled about the card agreement’s capacity to help restore their credit. The agreement also included language requiring both the consumer and the company to resolve disputes using binding arbitration. The federal Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) requires credit repair organizations to provide a disclosure statement to consumers saying: “You have a right to sue a credit repair organization that violates the [Act].” The three consumers brought a class-action lawsuit against Compu Credit alleging a violation of CROA which, among other things, forbids deceptive practices in credit repair. a. Compu Credit argued that the lawsuit was barred because of the arbitration provision. As you look at the facts, do you think the consumers can sue Compu Credit, or must they turn to binding arbitration? Explain. b. Recalling our discussion of arbitration in Chapter 4 and elsewhere in this text, in your judgment does arbitration provide an effective, efficient substitute for litigation in this Compu Credit case? Explain. c. How might a ruling favoring arbitration encourage fraud by credit card companies? See Compu Credit Corp. v. Wanda Greenwood, et al., 132 S.Ct. 665 (2012).
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