Bryan Caforio: Corporations run amok

By Signal Contributor

Last update: Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

Have you ever had your bank or credit card company wrongly charge you a $15 overdraft fee and then ignore your complaints to customer service for a refund? If so, what did do you do? You used to have three options: (1) hire a lawyer on your own to represent you, which would cost much more than your bank stole from you; (2) join together with other people your bank also cheated and bring a class action lawsuit; or (3) realize the deck is stacked against you, leave a bad review on Yelp, and kiss your $15 goodbye.

Realistically, the only way to get that money back was to join with other people who were taken advantage of and bring a class action lawsuit against the corporation. Unfortunately, extreme Republicans in Congress, including our own Representative Steve Knight, voted to take that option away from consumers, essentially allowing the biggest banks to steal money from each and every one of us whenever they choose.

As a consumer rights attorney, I’ve seen countless cases in which banks, insurance companies, and corporations try to steal from the consumers they’re supposed to serve because they know career corporate politicians in Washington wrote the rules to let them take advantage of us.

Bankers know how to game the system. Banks don’t usually steal $15 million from one person at a time because that multi-millionaire would hire a top lawyer to get her money back. More commonly, banks do something like overcharge one million different customers by $15. And those banks know it just doesn’t make sense for each person to spend the time and money suing a bank to recover the $15 on their own. So, after Republicans in Congress voted to take away the right of people to join together to sue the bank in a class action, where does that leave us? With the bank walking away with the $15 million it stole, and all of us consumers a little lighter in the wallet.

This scenario unfortunately isn’t just a hypothetical. Recently we’ve been overrun with stories of financial institutions out of control: from Wells Fargo creating millions of fake accounts, to the Equifax hack exposing 143 million Americans to potential identify theft, and let’s not forget all the bogus foreclosures during the financial collapse right here in the 25th District.

It’s time to finally say enough is enough. We need our representatives to start working for us, not the big banks who line corporate politicians’ pockets with huge campaign contributions. In Congress, I will work tirelessly to rewrite these rules and unrig this stacked system. It’s long past time our representatives stand up to banks and corporations, rather than continuing to let them steal from us without consequence.

Bryan Caforio is a candidate for California’s 25th Congressional District and a consumer rights attorney who lives in Santa Clarita.

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Bryan Caforio: Corporations run amok

Have you ever had your bank or credit card company wrongly charge you a $15 overdraft fee and then ignore your complaints to customer service for a refund? If so, what did do you do? You used to have three options: (1) hire a lawyer on your own to represent you, which would cost much more than your bank stole from you; (2) join together with other people your bank also cheated and bring a class action lawsuit; or (3) realize the deck is stacked against you, leave a bad review on Yelp, and kiss your $15 goodbye.

Realistically, the only way to get that money back was to join with other people who were taken advantage of and bring a class action lawsuit against the corporation. Unfortunately, extreme Republicans in Congress, including our own Representative Steve Knight, voted to take that option away from consumers, essentially allowing the biggest banks to steal money from each and every one of us whenever they choose.

As a consumer rights attorney, I’ve seen countless cases in which banks, insurance companies, and corporations try to steal from the consumers they’re supposed to serve because they know career corporate politicians in Washington wrote the rules to let them take advantage of us.

Bankers know how to game the system. Banks don’t usually steal $15 million from one person at a time because that multi-millionaire would hire a top lawyer to get her money back. More commonly, banks do something like overcharge one million different customers by $15. And those banks know it just doesn’t make sense for each person to spend the time and money suing a bank to recover the $15 on their own. So, after Republicans in Congress voted to take away the right of people to join together to sue the bank in a class action, where does that leave us? With the bank walking away with the $15 million it stole, and all of us consumers a little lighter in the wallet.

This scenario unfortunately isn’t just a hypothetical. Recently we’ve been overrun with stories of financial institutions out of control: from Wells Fargo creating millions of fake accounts, to the Equifax hack exposing 143 million Americans to potential identify theft, and let’s not forget all the bogus foreclosures during the financial collapse right here in the 25th District.

It’s time to finally say enough is enough. We need our representatives to start working for us, not the big banks who line corporate politicians’ pockets with huge campaign contributions. In Congress, I will work tirelessly to rewrite these rules and unrig this stacked system. It’s long past time our representatives stand up to banks and corporations, rather than continuing to let them steal from us without consequence.

Bryan Caforio is a candidate for California’s 25th Congressional District and a consumer rights attorney who lives in Santa Clarita.

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Signal Contributor

Signal Contributor

  • Bill Reynolds

    This just seems like another desperate ploy to denigrate the GOP.

    • lois eisenberg

      You don’t need another desperate ploy to denigrate the GOP.
      “The GOP speaks evil for the purpose of injuring and without regard for the truth”

      • Brian Richards

        That might be true Lois, but at least the GOP isn’t irrelevant. Ha!

  • Brian Richards

    Shouldn’t you work tirelessly trying to figure why your party is so irrelevant? And for the record Bryan, I’ve never been wrongly charged 15 bucks and if I was and it was resolved to my satisfaction, I could do the easy thing and take my business elsewhere. I realize there would be no profit for people like you, consumer attorney, but it’s the easiest thing. One thing consumer attorneys never tell is that while they make millions filing class action suits, inevitably the class members get almost nothing which is why people like Bryan fight so hard against the almost universal legal practice of loser pays!

  • lois eisenberg

    “Corporations run amok”
    Bryan thank you for the insight and your points are well taken **

  • lois eisenberg

    Here is another bill that Knight backs:
    “Yesterday Republicans revealed their tax bill, and it is just as bad as we feared. This scam is a one-two punch: massive tax cuts for big corporations and the wealthy that are funded by slashing health care, education, and other essential programs.”

    • Brian Richards

      Just stop it with you nonsense. No spending is being cut. Nothing ever gets cut and nobody buys your lies. As for tax cuts, that too is a lie. The top rate stays the same. Furthermore, since the wealthy pay almost all the tax and half the country pays no federal income tax, who the hell do you think is going to get a cut if there is one? If you don’t pay anything, you’re not going to get a cut. It’s a simple concept that apparently you are immune to understanding with your constant braying.

  • Ron Bischof

    This partisan column by Mr. Carfario is an indirect reference to regulatory reform that will impact his legal fee wallet. Attorneys garner fat fees from class action lawsuits and are therefore opposed to legal arbitration clauses in contracts. The attorney lobbyists aren’t the champions of consumers as represented in this column. They are advocating for their self-interests.

    Also, he’s a candidate for Rep. Knight’s seat representing CA District 25 while engaged as a partner in a legal practice that engages in precisely these types of class action lawsuits.

    Therefore, he can’t be considered an objective source on consumer protection regulation.

    This Consumer Financial Protection Bureau promulgated this rule, not your elected representatives. This agency, created by Dodd-Frank, has no Congressional budget oversight and is funded directly from the Federal Reserve with little recourse for oversight by the Executive Branch either.

    Democrats, beginning with the “Progressive Era” at the inception of the 20th Century, have actively worked for generations to set up a shadow government of unelected technocrats in Federal agencies to subvert Constitutional oversight accountable to the governed.

    These are facts Mr. Caforio and the tribally partisan Mr. Breznican won’t provide.

    http://thehill.com/policy/finance/banking-financial-institutions/276188-house-panel-passes-bills-to-ramp-up-cfpb

  • Brian Richards

    So “you” bounce a check and the bank charges you 20 bucks and “you” blame the bank? A perfect example of leftists in this country today. I know Anthony, how about not bouncing a check to begin with?

  • Brian Richards

    Finish the quote. Yes, I should have said “wasn’t”, but any simpleton could understand what I meant within the context of the entire quote.