Sean writes: “The wife and I were purchasing a car this weekend. After the typical pulling of teeth to get a price quote over email, we headed into the dealership on Saturday to finalize the deal. We were finally ushered into the finance guy’s office, pitched the warranty, gap insurance, etc., and got to the contract itself. I looked over the agreement and saw the ‘binding arbitration’ clause. Knowing it wasn’t a battle I could win, nor an issue I could avoid by shopping elsewhere, I let it go with a simple, “I don’t like the binding arbitration clause.” To my surprise, he responded, “Arbitration is the best thing invented for corporations!”
I looked at him incredulously. “Absolutely!” I responded. “For corporations. The consumer is stripped of their rights and forced into a process that rules against them over 90% of the time.”
He counters with decreased legal fees and other selling points, and then hits me with the killer, “If you get an unbiased arbiter, it’s the ideal solution.”
Do you agree now he’s just asking for it?
“There’s the issue,” I replied. “The consumer doesn’t get an unbiased arbiter. The arbiter is chosen by the corporation, and those who don’t give the corporation the ruling they want are not chosen again.”
He went back to the unbiased point again. He apparently wasn’t going to be able to see it from the consumer’s side, so I gave up.
But at that point I knew…had it just been me in that dealership, I’d have walked. But my wife has to put up with a lot of my arguments of principle, and this one would have cost her a shiny new vehicle.
(bonus: The first time he made the ‘unbiased’ argument, he couldn’t remember the word ‘unbiased’. I had to prompt him.)
Ha! At least he was telling the truth. “Best thing invented for corporations.” Maybe he thought if he sounded excited about it you would be swayed?
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