Since November 8, I’m sure we’ve all thought a lot about the state of consumer protection in our country. Like many of you, I’ve listened with despair to incredibly divisive and angry rhetoric yet heard little mention of consumer rights or consumer justice. I’ve spoken with you about your concerns and about the fate of your clients, many of whom unknowingly voted against their own economic interests. I wondered how we as consumer advocates can not only protect our clients but engage them in working together with us in preventing the eradication of the consumer rights that we have all fought so hard to create and promote.
What I’ve concluded, after listening and talking with many of you, is that I don’t know what the future will bring but if we don’t take collective action, we won’t be happy with the answer. What I also know is that consumer protection is nonpartisan and that all our members and our clients, regardless of their political party, must become active in the effort to safeguard our consumer protection laws.
In the coming days, weeks, and months, we will ask a lot from you. When consumer rights are under attack (and they will be)—whether it’s challenges to mortgage or debt collection laws, challenges to credit reporting or credit granting decisions, or threats to the long-awaited CFPB rule on forced arbitration or to class actions in general—we will urge you to take action. We’ll do our best to supply you with information to make your job easier but we will need you to contact your local, state and federal representatives (regardless of party), to write letters to the editor and engage your local press, and, whenever possible, to talk with your clients about why their rights are under threat and why they too should take action.
The time ahead will be a challenge to all of us engaged in the noble pursuit of protecting consumers. I have faith that we can and will succeed, but only if we (and our consumer clients) get organized and remain dedicated to doing all the difficult and necessary work together. I promise we will be with you every step of the way. So let’s get going!
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