Senators: No More Federal Funding To For-­Profit Colleges That Strip Students Of Legal Rights

Senators: No More Federal Funding To For-­Profit Colleges That Strip Students Of Legal Rights

If your college breaks the law, you should be able to pursue a legal action in court. But ­­following the lead of banks, wireless providers, and cable companies some for-profit colleges have been stripping students of their legal rights and forcing them into arbitration. These schools should not receive federal funding, says one group of lawmakers. [More]

(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]

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]

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]

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]

CFPB To Consider Rules That Would Revoke Banks’ “License To Steal”

(Van Swearingen)

The lengthy, often complicated terms of use for more than half of all credit cards — and nearly half of all federally insured bank deposits — include clauses that force customers into arbitration, taking away their right to sue these companies in a court of law and usually blocking them from joining together in a class action. Critics argue that these forced-arbitration clauses allow banks and other businesses to break the law with impunity. Heeding the call of lawmakers and consumer advocates, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has decided to consider rules that would ban this practice among financial institutions. [More]

Dish Taking Away Users’ Right To Sue Company In Court. Here’s How To Opt Out

Dish Taking Away Users’ Right To Sue Company In Court. Here’s How To Opt Out

Over the weekend, a number of Consumerist readers wrote to us with the bad news that, like a growing number of companies, Dish Network is updating its terms of use to strip customers of their right to dispute legal claims in a court of law. There is a way for Dish subscribers to opt out of this restriction — but only if they do it right away. [More]

While fewer than 8% of all banks put arbitration clauses on deposit accounts, those few banks account for nearly half of all insured deposits in the U.S. (source: CFPB)

In Wake Of Arbitration Report, Consumer Advocates Ask CFPB To Revoke Banks’ “License To Steal”

This morning, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its final report on forced arbitration, showing how banks and credit card companies use contractual clauses to short-circuit class-action lawsuits from their customers. Now that the Bureau has done its research, consumer advocates are calling on regulators to use their authority to end the practice. [More]

Banks & Credit Card Companies Saving Millions By Taking Away Your Right To Sue

Adam Fagen

Tens of millions of American consumers have clauses in their credit card, checking account, student loan, and wireless phone contracts that take away their rights to sue those companies in a court of law, and more than 93% of these people have no idea they’ve had this right taken away from them. The companies involved are presumably quite happy about this lack of awareness, as it results in millions of dollars in savings that aren’t being passed on to you. [More]

(photo: Other98.org)

Marching Band Delivers Petition To Citi Asking Banks To “Revoke License To Steal”

In a handful of recent decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the right of businesses to effectively break the law by putting a few carefully worded sentences into their contracts and user agreements. But just because you can add these clauses doesn’t mean you have to do so, which is why pro-consumer advocacy groups gathered more than 100,000 signatures on a petition that was delivered, with a little bit of music, to Citigroup HQ in Manhattan this morning. [More]

General Mills Thinks You’re Stupid, But Decides To Not Take Customers’ Legal Rights Away After All

(Paxton Holley)

While all sorts of big-name financial, tech, e-commerce, and telecom companies have been trying to take away consumers’ right to sue by inserting forced-arbitration clauses in their contracts and terms of service, it seemed ridiculous to think that the makers of cereal would resort to such deviousness, or how they would even be able to do it. But last week, General Mills tried, adding language to its website that stripped certain customers of their access to legal redress against the company. Realizing that maybe this might tick off an awful lot of people, the company has backed off this policy change. [More]

8 Things Companies Have Said That Sounded Like April Fool’s Jokes But Sadly Weren’t

8 Things Companies Have Said That Sounded Like April Fool’s Jokes But Sadly Weren’t

For the calendar-challenged, we’ll point out that today is April 1, meaning the Internet is full of phony products, fake stories, doctored photos… so, you know, it’s like most days on the Internet. Rather than serve up a “United Charges Upgrade Fee For Merely Being Jealous Of First-Class Passengers” headline, or a post about Comcast CEO Brian Roberts giving up his job to play Gretl Von Trapp in a regional theater production of The Sound of Music, we’re looking back at some stories that would have been appropriate for April Fool’s. [More]

9 Federal Laws That Companies Can Skirt By Using Forced Arbitration

9 Federal Laws That Companies Can Skirt By Using Forced Arbitration

There are numerous federal laws that explicitly give wronged consumers the right to file a lawsuit against the company that harmed them, but all those statutory rights are being taken away by companies that insert arbitration clauses into their terms of service. [More]

Why You Should Opt Out Of Forced Arbitration, In 3 Sentences

(afagen)

While more and more companies are adding “forced arbitration” clauses to their terms of service, only a handful of these businesses are offering customers the choice to opt out of this part of the contract. Here are the reasons why you should take advantage of that option whenever possible. [More]

DropBox Jumps On Forced Arbitration Bandwagon, But Offers Online Opt-Out

DropBox Jumps On Forced Arbitration Bandwagon, But Offers Online Opt-Out

Another company is taking the coward’s way out of resolving legal disputes with its customers by tweaking its Terms of Service to take away users’ rights to take the company to court and to prevent multiple users from having their complaints heard as a group. This time, it’s online storage service Dropbox, which is currently notifying users of the bad news. [More]