Protip for telemarkers: If you’re going to engage in random robodialing to unlisted cell phones, pray very very hard that you do not dial the attorney general of a state in which you plan to continue doing business.
The House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law is currently holding a hearing on forced arbitration and credit cards, appropriately titled “Federal Arbitration Act: Is the Credit Card Industry Using It To Quash Legal Claims?” Our friends at Public Citizen will be testifying. You can view (or at least listen to) the Real Player stream here.
Meet Michelle. We met Michelle at Arbitration Fairness Day and she told us about being forced into arbitration when she tried to get her poorly constructed home repaired. Now she’d like to share her story with you.
Mandatory binding arbitration, which corporations use to dodge accountability for their discrimination, negligence, or harassment, is a caricature of justice that offers no protection to consumers or employees. It’s also terrible for small business owners, as one couple found out.
We at Consumerist really hate mandatory binding arbitration, the faux-legal sucker punch that companies deliver when they screw up and you try to sue, and so should you. We’ve talked about its evils a lot, but no one can describe this legal abomination as well as the victims themselves, so this week we’ll let them speak.
Missouri’s Attorney General has won a $300,000 judgment against a telemarketer that violated the state’s do-not-call list. It is the third-largest award so far.
Mandatory binding arbitration agreements are bad for consumers for so many reasons that, unless you’re the victim of one, it’s hard to keep track of the various ways you can be screwed. So we’ve come up with this helpful illustration: a choose-your-own-adventure-styled trip through the arbitration process.
Justice has finally been served to the senior citizen who was not only ripped off on his trade-in vehicle (which is, frankly, to be expected), the dealership also got him to hand over his ATM card and just straight up stole $2000 from his bank account.
Wachovia will pay $144 million for helping telemarketers prey upon the elderly. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency spanked the morally bankrupt institution with one of the largest fines ever levied—but before seeing a penny of settlement money, seniors will need to fill out detailed claim forms and navigate a complex bureaucracy.
Gather round, tax kooks, and listen to the tale of Wesley Snipes. He’s the guy who didn’t pay his taxes while raking in millions, and then tried to collect $7.4 million in tax refunds. Now he’s going to jail for three years thanks to a federal District Judge who doesn’t care much for tax protesters and their zany theories.
To add (just) insult to (just) injury, a Florida judge awarded $518,301 to Angela Williams’s attorneys (PDF link). Ms. Williams recently won almost $3 million in a lawsuit against Equifax for Equifax’s refusal to fix her credit report after her identity was stolen.
Consumers were finally allowed this week to testify in favor of a proposed Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights without being forced to sign waivers allowing their creditors to release private financial records to the public. The three cardholders who testified lambasted their credit card companies for penalizing them even though they abided by their cardholder agreements.
When Eric Drew was in the hospital being treated for leukemia five years ago, a lab technician stole his personal information and began opening up credit card accounts in his name.
The FTC slammed nuisance advertiser ValueClick with a record-breaking $2.9 million fine for littering the internet with deceptive ads for free iPods, PS3s, and plasma TVs. Instead of providing freebies, ValueClick tricked people into signing up for useless services and then failed to safeguard their personal information.
The Supreme Court is currently considering whether to halve the punitive damages levied against Exxon for its massive 1989 oil spill from the Exxon Valdez tanker, from the current $2.5 billion to something more like $1 billion. Exxon claims the higher number amounts to excessive punishment. According to the New York Times, the decision may come down to a tie with four justices on either side; Justice Alito is not participating because he owns Exxon Mobile stock. The Exxon Valdez disaster “caused a 3,000-square-mile oil slick and still affects Alaska’s fisheries after nearly 19 years.”