Discover Won't Let Man Opt Out Of Arbitration, Even Though Their Terms Allow It

When John signed up for a Discover card a few months ago, he noticed an interesting item in the fine print—he could opt out of binding arbitration if he sent in a written request that contained a few lines of necessary info and his signature. John followed the instructions, but Discover rejected it. Since then they’ve rejected his request a second time, failed to call him back when promised, and transferred him to CSRs who don’t know what the word means. The latest news: now that 30 days have passed, he’s no longer eligible to opt out. John’s thinking about canceling the card.

Here’s his story:

In June I signed up for an introductory 0% APR Discover Business card and after reading through the “Discover Business Card Account Card Member Agreement” pamphlet that came with my card I found on page 13 that I could voluntarily reject binding arbitration. The section reads:

  “You may elect to reject the arbitration of disputes section by providing us a notice of rejection within 30 days after receiving a card, at the following address: Discover Business Card, PO Box 30938, Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0938… You’re rejection notice must include your name, address, telephone number, account number and signature and must not be sent in with any other correspondence…”

Eager to retain my right to sue the good ole’ fashioned American way, I sent in my very own ole’ fashioned handwritten rejection of arbitration certified letter, attached below. You’ll have to trust me that my information is below the black bars 🙂

I sent the letter on June 19th (delivered the 23rd) and Discover got back to me on July 5th (delivered July 7th). The letter I got back says “Unfortunately, we are unable to honor this request since it did not contain all of the required information as set forth in the Notice of Right to Reject Arbitration. Enclosed is the Cardmember Agreement that pertains to your account.”

I wasn’t sure what I had done wrong, so I cut out the section of the enclosed booklet and attached it to my next letter (sent July 8th, delivered July 11th):

I clearly state that since Discover took a bit to reply I was no longer within the first 30 days of opening my account. Surely this time it would work?

Nope. August 6th rolls around and the same letter described above arrives in the mail with the same pamphlet.

So at this point I call in and ask around to see what’s up and nobody really knows what’s going on… Finally a “manager” says he will look into the problem and get back to me.

So a few weeks roll around until finally today I’m going over my bills and remember that nobody ever called me back, so I call in today and get redirected 6 times to 7 different people, with 5 cold transfers and only 1 warm transfer. I went all over the country hopping from call center to call center, each time explaining to a new Discover rep my entire story and in two cases spelling out A-R-B-I-T-R-A-T-I-O-N until finally I just began asking each operator right up front if they knew what arbitration was, and if so if they could figure out why I can’t get rid of it.

Guy numero 7 tells me that if I “reject binding arbitration or anything else in the contract, Discover will cancel the account.” After I point out again that I am granted the option of opting out, he tells me that my 30 days have passed and so I’m probably not eligible anymore to opt out, but recommends that I contact the legal department and gives me the address, which if you can guess is the same one I sent my original letters to already.

At this point I’m really frustrated and tell the rep that I’d like to close my account if I can’t resolve this issue soon, so he tells me that someone will “call me by Wednesday with an answer.”

This is my first Discover card and I’ve really enjoyed using it but I just don’t have the patience for this run around. I’ve spent two hours dealing with this and I just wish they could figure it out.

Have any of your readers been able to opt out of binding arbitration?

Has anyone with a Discover business card account tried this? If so, did it work for you? We can’t figure out what Discover thinks John is doing wrong, other than trying to opt out in the first place.

(Photo: Getty)

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