MBNA Refuses To Appear For Binding Arbitration, May Still Prevail

Elizabeth Warren, the doyenne of consumer debt, received a frank email from a lawyer that shows the anti-consumer bias of binding arbitration. The lawyer was attempting to arbitrate a dispute with MBNA, a difficult task complicated by the bank’s refusal to participate.

From Credit Slips:

[The arbitrator] admitted that they never show up and he has never had an attorney show up before. Just before I left, he suggested that we might reschedule. I told him I would not agree to rescheduling and that I believed he had no choice but to find an award in favor of my client. This made him extremely uncomfortable and he indicated he would need to talk to someone at NAF [National Arbitration Forum] first. I reminded him that he was supposed to be impartial and he told me he would give me his decision in a few days.

Arbitrators who rule against corporations find themselves blacklisted, which is why this one wanted to reschedule, knowing full well that MBNA would not appear.

I just want to clarify that the arbitration notice states that FIA will appear by telephone. Mr. Curry [the arbitrator] told me that they never appear in person and often don’t call.

Consider this anonymous lawyer’s experience as one more reason to support The Arbitration Fairness Act.

Arbitration First-Hand [Credit Slips]
(Photo: It’sGreg)


Edit Your Comment

  1. BrockBrockman says:

    Maybe the Credit Card companies really are right 96% of the time? I think that puts them right up there next to Jesus on the infallibility scale. And me. I’m right 95% of the time, but the other 5% mostly had to do with my predictions on how Harry Potter would end.

  2. balthisar says:

    @BrockBrockman: I often wonder this myself. It’s not about fairness — this isn’t Judge Judy — it’s about contract law and honoring commitments.

    I’ve been treated more than fair by my bank and credit card companies, even when I ackowledged that I’m the one that screwed up.

    Since these things are closed, there aren’t any real precedents that we can look to to see who was *really* at fault. The consumer isn’t *always* right.

    Anyone gone through arbitration before care to comment?

  3. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Wait a minute, so, you sign away the right to sue for one to have things decided by arbitration but the company won’t get involved in arbitration anyway? Sounds like now you can sue… they’ve breached your contract with that, didn’t they?

  4. GearheadGeek says:

    The first question here isn’t who’s right, it’s who’s showing up for the arbitration hearing. If the bank is right, they should show up for the arbitration that THEY push over other means of recourse and prove it. If they can’t be bothered to show up at the scheduled time (assuming the time was mutually agreeable to all parties) then they can forfeit. I’m sure they’d expect the consumer to forfeit THEIR claim if they can’t be bothered to show up for the arbitration.

  5. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    If the company doesn’t show up, they lose. Period. Case closed. NO EXCEPTIONS WHATSOEVER, unless they called to reschedule.

    Same thing in small claims court. If they don’t show up, the plaintiff wins no matter what.

  6. Skeptic says:

    I think one of the bigger issue here is that the supposedly neutral arbitration companies are anything but. The actively solicit the business which bind consumer to mandatory arbitration and have a financial interest in finding in favor of their repeat customers. Studies have bore out this inequity, showing that repeat arbitrators win more often. This means that the arbitrators are little more than judges for hire to the highest bidder–a institutionally corrupt private legal system that corporations force customers into against their will and against their interests.

    Arbitrators are largely un-regulated and un-supervised. Decisions are usually secret and thus un examinable to check for patterns of un fairness Additionally, arbitrators are not required to make their decisions based on any law, even though they often do, nor are their decisions appealable.

    Manditory arbitration is more than inherrantly unequal it is inherrently corrupt since the arbitrators have

  7. Skeptic says:

    an inherent conflict of interest.

  8. highmktgoods says:

    The standard rules for the American Arbitration Association are posted online. Rule 27 states that an award shall not be made solely on the default of a party. In other words, if the CC company doesn’t show, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t show, it doesn’t matter. But your chances of winnings, IMO, SHOULD go down if you don’t show to present evidence in your own favor.

    27. Arbitration in the Absence of a Party or Representative

    Unless the law provides to the contrary, the arbitration may proceed in the absence of any party or representative who, after due notice, fails to be present or fails to obtain a postponement. An award shall not be made solely on the default of a party. The arbitrator shall require the other party to submit such evidence as may be required for the making of an award.