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]

CFPB Report Confirms That Banks & Credit Card Companies Are Taking Away Your Right To Sue

CFPB Report Confirms That Banks & Credit Card Companies Are Taking Away Your Right To Sue

In 2011, the Supreme Court held that it was A-OK to not only hide a complicated forced-arbitration clause in a novel-length contract for a consumer product or service, but that it was also just peachy that such a clause stripped the consumer of his/her right to bind together with other affected customers in a class action. Since then, sellers of everything from cellphone service to video games have added these complicated clauses in an attempt to keep complaining consumers out of court and into the unfair arena of arbitration. Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued its first report on forced arbitration, and the results are, sadly, not shocking. [More]

Charles Schwab Drops Class-Action Ban Clause From Contracts

Charles Schwab Drops Class-Action Ban Clause From Contracts

After AT&T somehow convinced the U.S. Supreme Court that a couple of sentences buried toward the end of a contract that maybe .05% of customers ever think about reading was all that was needed to preempt class-action lawsuits, many large companies have rushed to pack their user agreements and licenses with clauses that force customers into arbitration. But, stuck in a battle with an industry regulator, the folks at Charles Schwab have decided to go another way, announcing that they have gotten rid of the part of their arbitration clause that bans class-action suits… for now. [More]

(afagen)

Supreme Court To Decide Whether Companies Can Use Forced Arbitration To Skirt Federal Laws

It’s been nearly two years since the Supreme Court slapped U.S. consumers across the face, ruling in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that companies could take away customers’ rights to class-action lawsuits by including a tiny arbitration clause in user agreements. Today, SCOTUS hears another arbitration case that could shift the balance even further in favor of corporations. [More]

Instagram's new TOS takes away your right to a class-action lawsuit, unless you opt out now.

Here’s How To Opt Out Of Instagram’s New Arbitration Clause

Among the other controversial changes to Instagram’s Terms of Service is a spanking new forced-arbitration clause that, as things do, effectively takes away consumers’ rights to band together in a class-action against the company. Thankfully, you can opt out of the clause in writing before Feb. 15, 2013. [More]

A friendly notice from TWC

Two Class-Action Suits Filed Over Time Warner Cable’s Modem Rental Fee

We had a hunch this would happen when Time Warner Cable unceremoniously gave customers two-weeks notice that they would soon be paying a monthly modem rental fee for equipment that was already installed — the cable company is now a defendant in two identical lawsuits filed earlier today. [More]

(hvoltmer)

eBay Has A Zero-Tolerance Policy For Scammy Sellers (Who Haven’t Figured Out How To Game The System)

Recently we warned eBay buyers that they needed to make sure to complain about possible scams within 45 days or not only are they unable to get their money back, they can’t even leave negative feedback for the seller. We tried to get an explanation from eBay for this seemingly biased policy. Not surprisingly, eBay hasn’t been terribly forthcoming. [More]

Good advice.

American Express Tries To Sneak Forced Arbitration Clause On Users, Gives Until Feb. 15 To Opt Out

It’s the hot new trend in business: Forcing customers into binding arbitration that take away their rights to sue as a group. The latest to latch onto this trend is American Express, which did its best to hide the clause on the final pages of their statements, but which is also giving them until Feb. 15, 2013 to opt out. [More]

(hvoltmer)

Will Opting Out Of eBay Arbitration Clause Get My Account Deleted?

For weeks, we’ve been reminding eBay customers that they have until Nov. 9 to opt out of a new forced arbitration clause in the website’s user agreement that takes away consumers’ right to band together in a class-action suit. We’ve also been hearing concern from people that their accounts will be closed by eBay if they choose to opt out. [More]

(See the sample letter here)

Here Is A Downloadable Template For Opting Out Of PayPal Arbitration Clause

We already told you that perennial Worst Company In America heavyweight PayPal added a clause to its user agreement that forces customers with legal complaints into mandatory binding arbitration and takes away their right to band together in a class action. You can opt out of the clause by sending a very specifically formatted letter; luckily there’s now a template. [More]

With PayPals like this, who needs enemies?

PayPal Slips Forced Arbitration Clause Into User Agreement; Gives You Until Dec. 1 To Opt Out

As we’ve mentioned before, eBay recently changed its terms of service to include a mandatory binding arbitration clause that effectively takes away customers’ rights to pursue class-action lawsuits against the company. So it should come as no surprise that eBay subsidiary (and perennial Worst Company In America contender) PayPal has added a similar clause to its user agreement. But just like the eBay clause, users do have a short window to opt out. [More]

Senate Protects Employee Rights With Forced Arbitration Ban

Senate Protects Employee Rights With Forced Arbitration Ban

Yesterday, the Senate adopted an amendment that will prevent federal funding from going to any contractor that requires its employees to use mandatory binding arbitration, instead of court, for sexual assault and civil rights claims against the company.

No Arbitration For Halliburton Sexual Assault Case, Court Holds

No Arbitration For Halliburton Sexual Assault Case, Court Holds

A woman who was allegedly raped while working for Halliburton/Kellogg Brown & Root in Iraq will have her civil claims heard in court, not by a company-selected arbitrator, thanks to a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bank Of America Leaves Mandatory Arbitration Behind

Bank Of America Leaves Mandatory Arbitration Behind

Another bank is ending mandatory arbitration for their customers. Not just any bank, either—it’s Bank of America!