Opt Out Of Comcast's Arbitration Agreement

If you’re a Comcast customer and in the event of a dispute, want to retain your right to sue Comcast in a court of law in a trial by judge or jury, a right afforded to you by the Constitution, rather than go by the decision of an arbitration company Comcast hires to mediate your dispute, fill out this opt-out form.

Unlike bank fee changes, doing so won’t cancel your service.

In case you tossed it from the mail, a scan of the pamphlet is inside…

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Lawsuits against companies aren’t just for people looking for a buck because they spilled coffee down their pants. Consumers have successfully used them to get money back that Verizon owed them due to billing errors, to force HP to give them a new computer after losing theirs in the repair process, and even to sue telemarketers who violate the Do-Not-Call list.

Arbitration can be a more cost-effective way to resolve a dispute without going to the courts. However, the decisions are binding and are not subject to appeal.

The practice has drawn criticism from consumer advocates who say there’s a conflict of interest as these arbitration companies essentially rely on the referring companies for repeat business. There’s also that thing about no judge or jury being involved, aka forgoing the Sixth Amendment. If any of this leaves a funny taste in your mouth and you’re a Comcast subscriber, hit the link below. — BEN POPKEN

Arbitration Opt-Out [Comcast] (Thanks to TM!)

Comments

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  1. QuirkyRachel says:

    I think I just want to retain my right to sue them for being stupid and providing customer service that is extraordinarily confusing and just plain bad.

  2. othium says:

    I plan on filling mine out just as soon as I can find my account information in my “box of important papers that is not to be thrown away”.

  3. r81984 says:

    Should everyone do this or just those with a current issue.

  4. Ben Popken says:

    @r81984: Everyone.

  5. slackerdeluxe says:

    Heck, I’m not even a Comcast customer and I still want to opt out.

  6. Beerad says:

    “Lawsuits against companies aren’t just for people looking for a buck because they spilled coffee down their pants.”

    For shame, Ben! You of all people should be more sympathetic to an elderly woman (in the famous McDonald’s case) who suffered third-degree burns to her thighs, buttocks, and groin. Does McDonald’s really need to serve coffee between 180-190 degrees? Should they perhaps have investigated the hundreds of complaints over several years prior to the case involving burned customers?

    I mean, it’s no 5 cent text-message fee so maybe it’s not that Consumerist-worthy, but does that poor grandmother deserve your derision? She spent a freaking week in the hospital enjoying lots of skin grafts!

  7. ptkdude says:

    @Beerad: Coffee is hot. I learned when I was a small child that when you spill hot liquids on yourself, you get burned.

    Nissan didn’t put a warning on my leather seats that they can get scorching hot when I park in the sun; should I sue them for burning the crap out of my legs? No. Because I learned a long time ago that exposure to direct sunlight heats things up.

  8. cde says:

    @ptkdude: Hot and burn-your-skin-and-muscles-down-to-the-bone are two different things. Go google some third degree burn images.

  9. Beerad says:

    @ptkdude: “Nissan didn’t put a warning on my leather seats that they can get scorching hot when I park in the sun; should I sue them for burning the crap out of my legs?”

    Oh, I don’t know, if you had driven plenty of cars with no problem for years, and then when you sat down in your Nissan for the first time and within 5 seconds your legs and junk were so badly burned you needed skin grafts, I think you’d feel a bit differently.

  10. rhombopteryx says:

    @BEN
    Yay for opting out in the face of biased arbitration proceedings and in favor of less/un-biased courts, but “your right to sue Comcast in a court of law in a trial by judge or jury” isn’t really your right, and its not Constitutionally guaranteed – much as we may want it to be.

    The 7th Amendment just guarantees that IF you can bring a suit, you can demand that it be tried by jury, not that you are entitled to bring a suit in the first place…

    See for example all the people forced to go the arbitration route, or excluded from bringing a class action by the Class Action “fairness” Act, or precluded by FCC rules from suing their phone company, or etc. etc. :(

  11. funzee says:

    Just opted out… Thanks for the heads up!

  12. Trackback says:

    It’s Saturday afternoon, and as a law professor I’m spending it in my usual way–reading and rereading the various form contracts to which our household is subject.