(afagen)

Bill Aims To Restore Consumers’ Legal Rights Stripped Away By Supreme Court Rulings

In recent years, a narrow majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly sided against consumers’ access to the justice system, concluding that a 90-year-old law gives companies the authority to effectively skirt the legal system by preempting customers’ lawsuits. That’s why some legislators have decided it’s time to change that law. [More]

Lyft Will Pay California Drivers Total Of $12.25M, Still Won’t Call Them Employees

Lyft Will Pay California Drivers Total Of $12.25M, Still Won’t Call Them Employees

The companies operating the two largest ride-hailing fleets, Uber and Lyft, both have lawsuits against them in California where drivers seek “employee” status. The lawsuit against Lyft has been settled, but only one part of it: the company has agreed not to terminate drivers without giving them a reason why, but will not grant them minimum wage, overtime pay, vehicle expense reimbursement, or any other benefits that they would get as employees. [More]

Consumer Reports Checks Fitbit Heart Rate Monitors Again

Consumer Reports Checks Fitbit Heart Rate Monitors Again

Earlier this month, a lawsuit from several Fitbit tracking watch owners made the news. In it, three users claimed that the heart rate monitors are inaccurate, and that customers had been misled. Yet our pulse-monitoring colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports had just tested the same products, and didn’t notice any problems with their heart rate monitoring ability. Had they missed something? They decided to check. [More]

Supreme Court: You Can’t Shut Down A Consumer Class Action By Offering Settlement

Supreme Court: You Can’t Shut Down A Consumer Class Action By Offering Settlement

If you believe that a company has wronged you and other consumers in the same way, you can file a class-action lawsuit seeking to represent all the purported victims of the company’s misbehavior. But can that company preempt the entire lawsuit by offering you a full settlement in advance? Today, the U.S. Supreme Court (well, six of them) said no. [More]

Adam Fagen

Got A Fitbit Or Other Gadget For Christmas? It’s Time To Opt Out Of Mandatory Arbitration!

Customers have filed a class action suit against Fitbit, claiming that the company’s Charge HR and Surge fitness bands don’t accurately measure users’ heart rate during vigorous exercise. We’ll keep an eye on the lawsuit and let you know if it goes anywhere, but it probably won’t, and that’s what got our attention. The users filed a class action against Fitbit despite signing (well, clicking) away their right to do so when they registered their devices. [More]

(afagen)

Final Decision In Uber Driver Class Action Won’t Come Until Appeals Court Decides On Arbitration

The trial in the case of California Uber drivers against the ride-hailing app is still going forward, scheduled for June 20, 2016. However, a few weeks ago, the judge allowed all of the drivers taking part to sue for mileage and phone bill reimbursement. Uber is appealing that ruling, and the appeal may not be resolved before the trial. This week, the judge ruled that he won’t make a final ruling until that case is resolved. [More]

Debt Collectors Can Sue You, But Court Might Not Let You Sue Debt Collector Back

Debt Collectors Can Sue You, But Court Might Not Let You Sue Debt Collector Back

A new report claims that a growing number of debt collectors are trying to exploit a legal loophole that allows them to bring potentially frivolous lawsuits against alleged debtors, but bars those defendants from bringing their own legal action against the debt collector. [More]

Strippers Say They Were Forced To Give Up Their Right To Sue Club

Just one of 18 clauses in the arbitration agreement that some dancers say they were made to sign by the Atlanta club.

If your employer does something illegal, you have the right to sue them in a court of law. But a group of strip club dancers in Atlanta say they were forced to sign away that right — or lose their jobs. [More]

Uber Sends Drivers New Contract That Includes Opting Out Of Any Current Class Actions

Uber Sends Drivers New Contract That Includes Opting Out Of Any Current Class Actions

Was Uber trying to deliberately trick its drivers when it sent out a new driver agreement, or just trying to make its contract provisions clearer? While the company’s attorneys claim that the new driver contract wouldn’t actually preclude drivers still working for them from taking part in the California lawsuit or other lawsuits against them, the attorney for the affected drivers disagrees. [More]

10+ Things Consumers Should Know About The New Federal Spending Bill

10+ Things Consumers Should Know About The New Federal Spending Bill

This morning, after months of slapping on, then removing, then replacing pork barrel riders on the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, we finally know exactly which add-ons made it into the omnibus spending bill and which ones didn’t. [More]

Supreme Court Once Again Shows Its Disdain For Consumer Rights

Supreme Court Once Again Shows Its Disdain For Consumer Rights

For the third time in five years, the U.S. Supreme Court had a chance to reverse a terrifying trend in consumer rights by doing something, anything, to rein in “forced arbitration” clauses that strip consumers of their legal rights and effectively give companies a license to steal. And for the third time in five years, the SCOTUS majority showed its interests lie in protecting the coffers of big business rather than Americans’ access to the legal system. [More]

Groups Call On AmEx, Chase, Citi, Toyota, Others To Stop Forcing Customers To Sign Away Their Legal Rights

Groups Call On AmEx, Chase, Citi, Toyota, Others To Stop Forcing Customers To Sign Away Their Legal Rights

Once upon a time, if a company wronged a customer — not just by screwing up an order or having poor customer service, but by actually breaking the law — that customer could file a lawsuit and try to hold the company accountable. And if the company wronged lots of customers in the same way, they could join together in a class action. Now, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, companies can get away with breaking the law by simply including a few handy lines of text in their customer agreements and contracts. But just because the company can use this “get out of jail free” card, doesn’t mean it should. [More]

Banks Urge Congress To Continue Renewing Their “Get Out Of Jail Free” Cards

Banks Urge Congress To Continue Renewing Their “Get Out Of Jail Free” Cards

Nestled deep in the text of the lengthy contracts for most credit cards and bank accounts are little clauses that not only prohibit harmed customers from suing their bank or card issuer, but also prevents them from banding together with similarly injured consumers to argue their dispute as a group. In October, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced it would consider limits on these clauses, but now the banking industry is trying to use its leverage with D.C. lawmakers to shut down that process. [More]

(Jennifer Moo)

Things Are Looking Up For Federal Law Banning “Gag Clauses” That Prevent Customers From Writing Honest Reviews

While most companies understand that honest negative feedback is, at worst, an inevitability of doing business, and maybe even a chance to improve, some companies try to use non-disparagement, or “gag,” clauses that use threats of legal action or financial penalties to prevent customers from writing or saying anything negative about that business — even if what’s being said is 100% true. We’ve seen these in everything from cheapo cellphone accessories, to wedding contractors, to hotels, to dentists, to weight-loss products, to apartment complexes. California recently enacted a law banning this sort of behavior, and some courts have deemed these clauses unenforceable, but there is still no nationwide consensus on their legality. Previous attempts to create a federal ban on gag clauses have been dead on arrival at Capitol Hill, but the latest effort appears to have some life to it. [More]

12 Things We Learned From The New York Times’ Investigative Report On Arbitration

12 Things We Learned From The New York Times’ Investigative Report On Arbitration

Consumerist’s first post on the subject of arbitration, back in 2007, described a dispute that was ultimately resolved in the consumer’s favor. Since then, we’ve been against the practice, pointing out when popular companies change their terms of service to add arbitration clauses. It doesn’t matter, though, because arbitration can save companies so much money that they don’t especially care what we think. Sometimes. [More]

This prairie dog is not impressed by your hollow threats of legal action. (Angela N.)

Fertility Service Threatens Customer With Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuit For Complaining To Better Business Bureau

A New Jersey woman who thought she’d been cheated out of several thousand dollars by a service that connects prospective parents with willing egg donors did something that a lot of ticked-off consumers do: She filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau — not knowing that the company would then threaten her with a massive legal action for daring to speak her mind. [More]

(Rosalyn Davis)

Settlement Between New York, Tobacco Companies Provides $550M For Smoking-Related Health Costs

A decades-long dispute between the New York Attorney General’s Office and major tobacco firms over payments the companies were required to make for smoking-related public-health costs, but refused to dish out, has come to an end. A new settlement between the parties directs the tobacco companies to deliver $550 million to the state, New York City and other counties.  [More]

Is Giving Up Your Right To Sue Fiat Chrysler Worth $200?

Is Giving Up Your Right To Sue Fiat Chrysler Worth $200?

Companies that don’t want their customers to sue have a special weapon: they slip mandatory arbitration agreements into new contracts and service agreements, requiring customers to opt out if they would prefer to retain their right to sue. Yet Fiat Chrysler is trying an interesting tactic: they’ll give you a $200 discount if you sign a piece of paper agreeing to arbitration. [More]