Let's Face It: Mandatory Binding Arbitration Sucks

A few days ago a “big business” lawyer wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal suggesting that those mean old people in the government were trying to take away your right to arbitration. How dare they!

For example (emphasis ours):

Congress is taking up legislation this week that will wipe out arbitration provisions in hundreds of millions of consumer contracts — for everything from credit-card agreements to cell phones to health-insurance policies, even a contract for the purchase of a kitchen sink.

Holy sh*t! Not the f*cking kitchen sink! I’m moving to Canada this time, I swear to God!

Anyway, in our august and respected opinion (ha ha ha ha) this WSJ piece was misrepresenting the real issue at hand — whether or not arbitration should be mandatory. The piece of legislation she refers to does not remove your ability to enter into arbitration, a fact that she manages to ignore. She also refutes generalized “anti-arbitration” arguments with studies paid for by the American Arbitration Association — the people who most directly benefit from forcing consumers to use their services.

We could have written a response to the piece, but some kind consumer lawyers sent us one that had been written already and we like it. So, we’re just going to link to that and save ourselves some time. In short, however, our point is this: We think the market should be able to decide whether or not arbitration is a better deal for consumers, and in order for it to decide it has to be able to choose.

There’s nothing wrong with arbitration, if that’s what you want to do, but you should not be forced into it by your employer, your nursing home, or in order to purchase something. Especially a kitchen sink.

Big Business Wants You Out Of The Courtroom [Cranky Greg]
Arbitration Works Better Than Lawsuits [WSJ]