Consumers Can't Sign Away Rights To Class Action Lawsuits

The Supreme Court of Washington State has ruled that consumers cannot sign away their right to participate in a class action lawsuit, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

“The class-action waiver is unconscionable because it effectively denies large numbers of consumers the protection of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act,” Justice Tom Chambers wrote.

The “mandatory arbitration” clause that many businesses use to help prevent consumers from suing often includes a clause that supposedly waives the consumer’s right to a class action lawsuit. From the P-I:

Microsoft, RealNetworks, Amazon.com, Intel and the Association of Washington Business filed “friend of the court” briefs on behalf of Cingular, while AARP, the state attorney general and the National Association of Consumer Advocates supported consumers.

“We are still studying the court’s ruling,” an AT&T spokesman said Friday. “It is important to note that the ruling does not address the plaintiff’s claims, but, rather, only the arbitration clause.

“We continue to believe that a consumer is better off pursuing a claim under our arbitration clause, rather than pursuing a class action.”

Sorry, AT&T, Microsoft, RealNetworks, Amazon.com, Intel and the Association of Washington Business… We continue to believe that class action waivers are a bunch of baloney. So there.

State high court says consumers can’t sign away class-action rights [Seattle P-I] (Thanks, Toren!!)
(Photo:cmorran123)

PREVIOUSLY: Cingular Tries to Get Class Action Lawsuit Thrown Out, Cites Arbitration Clause