Here’s something neat. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cablevision/Optimum actually let customers opt out of arbitration when they sign up. If you don’t want to give up your right to personally sue them in a court of law and be forced into a kangaroo court overseen by a judge whose fees are paid for by the company you’re suing, Cablevision will let you. The caveat is that you have to tell them within 30 days of signing your contract. Here’s the links and relevant contract language to opt-out: [More]
When you buy a new cellphone you have to sign a contract where you give up your right to sue. You agree to what’s called, “mandatory binding arbitration.” This is a bad thing to give to an industry that has high levels of complaints about hidden fees and abusive anti-consumer practices. Because if their crummy customer service fails to remedy an issue, your last resort option is to participate in a kangaroo court system that is paid for out of fees paid by the cellphone companies themselves. So Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN) have today introduced The Consumer Mobile Fairness Act that would ban mandatory arbitration clauses in cellphone contracts. [More]
When AT&T recently convinced the Supreme Court that a mandatory binding arbitration clause hidden deep in a customer’s terms of service contract was enough to keep said customer from joining a class-action lawsuit against the company, many of us predicted that a number of large companies would follow AT&T’s example, adding arbitration clauses to avoid expensive class actions. And it looks like Sony has opted to go that route. [More]
Earlier today, the Supreme Court ruled that it’s okay for companies to effectively preempt class-action lawsuits by putting mandatory binding arbitration clauses into their contracts with consumers. To most of us, that looks like a slap in the face to the American consumer, but the folks at AT&T want us all to know that the Supreme Court decision is actually going to benefit us all. [More]
In a huge blow to peeved consumers, the Supreme Court ruled earlier today that companies can block customers from joining together in a class-action suit by forcing each complaint into arbitration.
A provision buried deep within the recently passed Wall Street reform bill has the power to finally kill off mandatory binding arbitration, one of the more dangerous anti-consumer practices still sanctioned by law. While the bill includes a limited provision banishing arbitration agreements from mortgages and home equity loans, it also gives broad powers to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to kill off arbitration in all other consumer financial products. [More]
A little over two weeks ago, tipped by reader Chan, we told you about how buried in T-Mobile’s online terms and conditions is a way to opt-out of their mandatory binding arbitration clause, but unfortunately the website where you were supposed to do it was down. We gave their PR guy a heads up and now the site, www.t-mobiledisputeresolution.com, is online. [More]
Consumerist is no fan of mandatory binding arbitration, a clause in many consumer contracts that forces you to give up your right to sue in small claims court and have all disputes resolved by a professional arbitration firm that gets paid directly by the companies. So when I saw that there was an way to opt-out of T-Mobile’s arbitration clause online, I was stoked. Then I tried to go there, and the site was broken. Fail phone! UPDATE: T-Mobile Fixes Broken Arbitration Opt-Out Site [More]
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.
The “credit union on steroids” has gone to mandatory binding arbitration for all disputes, removing customers’ ability to successfully sue them if things go wrong. Previously, USAA had arbitration as an option, but allowed members to opt out. Now, if you want to opt out of arbitration, you’ll have to close your accounts.
The arbitration rollback continues apace! Last Thursday, JPMorgan Chase announced it won’t send disputes to arbitration and is rethinking putting the clauses in its consumer contracts. Coming on the heels of news that NAF and AAA will stop arbitrating consumer credit card disputes, Creditcards.com wrote, “Two more supporting beams have crumbled and now, with astonishing speed, the entire edifice of the mandatory credit card arbitration system is collapsing.”
The perils of forced arbitration and the need for the Arbitration Fairness Act were recently featured on an NPR piece. The story discusses the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, the former Halliburton employee who was gang raped in Iraq by her coworkers, then was sent to arbitration when she tried to sue her employer.
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.