eBay Users Have Until Nov. 9 To Opt Out Of Mandatory Binding Arbitration

In 2011, when AT&T convinced the Supreme Court that the inclusion of a mandatory binding arbitration clause buried deep in a contract effectively precludes customers from filing a class, it was immediately obvious that more and more companies would begin including such clauses in their terms of service. The latest company is eBay, which has given users until Nov. 9 to opt out — in writing — of the clause.

Like many other arbitration clauses, eBay’s reads:

YOU AND EBAY AGREE THAT EACH OF US MAY BRING CLAIMS AGAINST THE OTHER ONLY ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS AND NOT AS PART OF ANY PURPORTED CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE ACTION OR PROCEEDING. UNLESS BOTH YOU AND EBAY AGREE OTHERWISE, THE ARBITRATOR MAY NOT CONSOLIDATE OR JOIN MORE THAN ONE PERSON’S OR PARTY’S CLAIMS, AND MAY NOT OTHERWISE PRESIDE OVER ANY FORM OF A CONSOLIDATED, REPRESENTATIVE, OR CLASS PROCEEDING. ALSO, THE ARBITRATOR MAY AWARD RELIEF (INCLUDING MONETARY, INJUNCTIVE, AND DECLARATORY RELIEF) ONLY IN FAVOR OF THE INDIVIDUAL PARTY SEEKING RELIEF AND ONLY TO THE EXTENT NECESSARY TO PROVIDE RELIEF NECESSITATED BY THAT PARTY’S INDIVIDUAL CLAIM(S). ANY RELIEF AWARDED CANNOT AFFECT OTHER EBAY USERS.

But at least eBay is allowing this slender window for users to opt out:

You can choose to reject this Agreement to Arbitrate (“opt-out”) by mailing us a written opt-out notice (“Opt-Out Notice”). For new eBay users, the Opt-Out Notice must be postmarked no later than 30 days after the date you accept the User Agreement for the first time. If you are already a current eBay user and previously accepted the User Agreement prior to the introduction of this Agreement to Arbitrate, the Opt-Out Notice must be postmarked no later than November 9, 2012 . You must mail the Opt-Out Notice to eBay Inc., c/o National Registered Agents, Inc., 2778 W. Shady Bend Lane, Lehi, UT 84043.

The Opt-Out Notice must state that you do not agree to this Agreement to Arbitrate and must include your name, address, and the user ID(s) and email address(es) associated with the eBay account(s) to which the opt-out applies. You must sign the Opt-Out Notice for it to be effective. This procedure is the only way you can opt-out of the Agreement to Arbitrate. If you opt-out of the Agreement to Arbitrate, all other parts of the User Agreement and its Legal Disputes Section will continue to apply to you. Opting out of this Agreement to Arbitrate has no effect on any previous, other, or future arbitration agreements that you may have with us.

Even if you never envision suing eBay, we recommend all eBay users opt out of the arbitration agreement. For all the negative press that class-action lawsuits receive, they are a valuable tool for consumers to use when a company’s policies affect a large group of people. We can’t allow businesses to effectively eradicate class-action suits with the simple inclusion of a few sentences of legalese.

Of course, AT&T says that mandatory binding arbitration is really in the best interest of consumers. And the folks at the Death Star would never try to steer us wrong, would they?

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. mauispiderweb says:

    Never again.

  2. Torchwood says:

    I tried remembering the last time I used ebay to actually buy something. The search query failed.

  3. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    I find the following clause just as reprehensible. ANYONE having anything to do with ebay, even their affiliates (ie someone that has paid ebay for the lists) can call, text or email me on a device that that charges for incoming calls, texts or data AND I CAN NOT OPT OUT. This applies to ANY DEVICE I have called them with. So If I use my wife’s phone even once to contact them, that gives them the authority to call her phone whenever they want to try and get to me.

    Provisions relating to eBay’s contacts with its members.
    Pursuant to the eBay User Agreement, you agree that eBay, its affiliates, agents, and independent contractors may contact you at any telephone number you provide to us or from which you place a call to us, or any telephone number at which we reasonably believe we may reach you, using any means of communication, including calls or text messages using an automatic telephone dialing system and/or prerecorded messages, even if you incur charges for receiving such communications.

    • alternety says:

      This telephone call permission is the part that I also find the worst infringement on our rights. This also needs to have an opt-out. And they should be punished just like any entity ignoring the national no-call list if they fail to honor the opt-out..

      Why do we allow corporations continually inflict limits on our lives and rights (e.g., use of the legal system, privacy, no-call lists) as well as imposing their religious or political views on the customers (e.g., Google and the refusal to return any search items having to do with purchasing firearms). The argument is always made that we simply don’t have to use the service. And that it is their right under the constitution (rights provided by said document which they frequently deny us the user/customer). Typically they are services/companies that have successfully gained such a presence in a market that they have no alternate equivalent service for a user to substitute.

      • petermv says:

        Why do WE? allow it? We don’t allow it, or want it, although corporations love it. What we need are politicians who stand up for the people, not corporations (even though the Supreme Court has stated that corporations are people now). My suggestion it to vote out any Republicans early and often.

        • MarkFL says:

          I propose an amendment providing that any mention of “people” in the Constitution shall be construed as meaning “unincorporated people.”

    • gedster314 says:

      We all have throw away email addresses. Time for the throw away Google Voice number, they are great for when you sell stuff on CraigList. Or buy a Tracfone for a while and then ditch the number.

  4. shepd says:

    “ALSO, THE ARBITRATOR MAY AWARD RELIEF (INCLUDING MONETARY, INJUNCTIVE, AND DECLARATORY RELIEF) ONLY IN FAVOR OF THE INDIVIDUAL PARTY SEEKING RELIEF AND ONLY TO THE EXTENT NECESSARY TO PROVIDE RELIEF NECESSITATED BY THAT PARTY’S INDIVIDUAL CLAIM(S). ANY RELIEF AWARDED CANNOT AFFECT OTHER EBAY USERS.”

    Not only do you have to arbitrate, but you lose the right to counter-sue via arbitration. So, if you both have legitimate beefs against each other, the first past the post is the only case heard. Lovely.

  5. benminer says:

    Literally the only thing I have purchased off ebay in 5 years is cell phone accessories.

  6. mmcnary says:

    Sent mine in this morning. I had my wife send hers in as well, even though she no longer has an account. IANAL, but it looks as if she would be covered under the agreement, and lose her rights to class action if she doesn’t.

  7. gedster314 says:

    I stopped using FleaBay long ago. Too many scammers and their seller fees/paypal fees got ridiculous.

  8. sufreak says:

    Snail mail an opt out notice – What better a way to ensure so few people will do this. Less and less reason to use them.

  9. HogwartsProfessor says:

    The problem with arbitration is that it’s so stacked in favor of the companies. This shit should be illegal. It’s like extortion–”Use us! Oh so sorry, you used us and now you’re subject to these Mafia tactics. Arbitration? Okay, but you have to use OUR arbitrators, paid by us, totally biased, and you have no choice! You mailed your opt-out notice? So sorry, we don’t have it! It must have gotten lost in the mail! SO LONG, SUCKER!”

    And your money is gone.

    With all companies doing this, you have nowhere else to go.

  10. bearymore says:

    EBay’s agent’s address per the opt out procedure – Shady Bend Lane. How appropriate.

  11. Sarek says:

    Most companies say “you can opt out of binding arbitration only by never using us again.”

    • Mark says:

      Sadly yes, only true opt out is never using again. WHy does the US government allow such for lack of a better word, raping of consumers and the public.

      I need ebay, it seems me tons of money. TONS!!! and I find rare stuff. So, I am screwed.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      I’m always curious if those who send this opt out letter suddenly find their login disabled. I only use Ebay maybe twice a year, but I’ll probably opt out your see whether happens.

  12. Proselytic says:

    After fighting with eBad about an arbitrary security issue that didn’t exist and after having years of a flawless record with eBad, I did the right thing and opted out entirely. I’m much happier person now without eBay…

  13. mcgyver210 says:

    I have never seen a Class action suit do anything for anyone accept Lawyers & the original plaintiffs. I now have a standing policy to opt out of all Class Actions due to my recent experience with the well publicized LapTop Class Action results giving me less than I could have gotten on my own in small claims. Also the Incompetent Judge in this case didn’t seem to be unbiased IMO but instead seemed to be very much on the side of the LapTop Company IMO.

    So Class Action is in reality a Money maker for Lawyers & nothing but a different type of Binding arbitration for those that had nothing to do with it in the first place since you have to OPT-Out of the “Binding” Class Action Settlement you had no Say or Choice in.

    As for eBay what company doesn’t have issues with customers now days. I own a company & can tell you not all but many consumers know how to play the system now days.

    Also I have been a customer to the so called Death Star for over 20 yrs & can say I have stayed with them & now even have their TV Service. I really think many times people don’t understand or choose to ignore what they are buying which is part of the problem.

    • MuleHeadJoe says:

      Class Action lawsuits netted me several thousand dollars in “back pay” that I didn’t even know I was owed. I get notice in the mail that I was part of a registered / delineated class suing a former employer for wage & overtime violations. I read the brief document and chucked it in the trash. A year later, company X loses the CAL and has to pay 500 mill … 200 mill goes to the lawyers (cha-CHING! for them) but 300 mill gets distributed to the Class plaintiffs. Without the CA designation & the lawyers, I woulda got bupkis, instead I got a couple months salary in the mail totally unexpected. And I didn’t have to lift a finger to get it. Following a couple notable cases that went the way of the employees, almost every large corporation in the state (California) chose to overhaul their employment practices. No more mandatory uncompensated overtime. Seemed like a win for the designated class to me.

  14. ancientone567 says:

    Screw Ebay. I am done with them.

  15. jebarringer says:

    “they are a valuable tool for consumers to use when a company’s policies affect a large group of people.”
    You mean, they are a valuable tool for consumers to get $2.50 each while a handful of lawyers get millions.

    • MarkFL says:

      I agree with this completely, but at least the threat of punitive damages MIGHT be a deterrent to abuse. Take that away and there’s really no deterrent. Plus, you also don’t have the option of an individual lawsuit.

  16. sjgarg says:

    I also got this email. I’m in Canada, I find it hard to believe that they’d be able to force binding arbitration outside of the USA.

  17. T. Bone says:

    AT&T and Ebay suck!!!!

  18. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Wow…OK seriously, something came up on this website that I need to TAKE ACTION on.

    Definitely need to send that letter in.

  19. tooki says:

    Hello people,

    For anyone who wants, I made a template letter for my friends. Fill it out, print, and sign it.

    Go to http://sdrv.ms/OUnnnS and then click either “Edit in Word” or “Download”.

  20. Applekid says:

    Last time there was an opt-out thing I think it was a credit card. I heard everyone who had opted-out had their accounts closed.

  21. Easter Love says:

    If you search the address given, 2778 W. Shady Bend Lane, it shows as a single family residence. There is something odd about that. Ebay is not to be trusted.

    The other provisions added are very eyebrow raising as well. eg; the parts about affiliates getting your personal info, phone calls which may incur charges, the parts about credit collection agencies and so on.

    Not to mention this little phrase:
    “You further agree that PayPal is not obliged to verify or confirm the amount that eBay presents to PayPal for the purpose of processing the payment of any Authorized Amount.”

    Wow! What does that mean?

    Given their recent behavior there is cause for concern.