Class Actions: T-Mobile's Mandatory Arbitration Clause Ruled "Unconscionable"

A class action lawsuit can proceed in Washington after the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled T-Mobile’s mandatory binding arbitration clause “unconscionable and unenforceable under Washington state law.”

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

T-Mobile customers Kathleen Lowden and John Mahowald sued T-Mobile in King County Superior Court in 2005, alleging that the wireless carrier wrongly charged them for roaming, long distance, night-time and other fees that should have been free. They said T-Mobile also levied other charges, such as “a universal service fund fee,” that weren’t advertised.

T-Mobile removed the case to federal district court and tried to compel mandatory arbitration, noting that the consumers had signed a contract agreeing to resolve their disputes in this manner.

This isn’t the first time Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of consumers on this issue. Last year a class action involving Cingular was allowed to proceed when that company’s “class action waiver” was ruled unconscionable.

T-Mobile customers can sue, court rules [Seattle P-I]
Opinion by Judge Gould (PDF)