Forced arbitration clauses have made their way into hundreds of consumer contracts. Whether you are buying a cell phone plan, signing up for a credit card or even purchasing a car (or the insurance that comes with it), you have likely signed a contract containing a mandatory arbitration clause. Dozens of national corporations include forced arbitration provisions in the fine print of their terms of service and employment as a way of barring consumers (and employees) from taking them to court for wrongdoing. In addition, consumers and employees are barred from coming together to file a class action lawsuit against the corporations that did them harm.
WHAT IS SO BAD ABOUT FORCED ARBITRATION?
Telecommunications giants, big banks, brokerage firms, and even healthcare providers and insurance companies are all guilty of using mandatory arbitration clauses to strip consumers of their right to sue. These are the top 5 issues consumers should be concerned with as forced arbitration continues to expand.
The majority of consumers do not know what they have agreed to. When presented with an extremely long legal document, most people’s eyes tend to glaze over or shut down. The jargon included in the terms and conditions of consumer contracts is usually technical and purposefully misleading. Finding an arbitration clause is usually difficult, as it is hidden in the fine print. An arbitration clause goes by many names, including “binding mandatory arbitration,” “arbitration,” or even “dispute resolution mechanism.”
Takes away consumer and employee rights to sue. Whether the company has been negligent, issued a defective product that caused you severe harm, or you have been discriminated against or harassed as an employee, arbitration requires you to go through a “neutral” third party to resolve your grievance against the company that did you harm.
Decades worth of legislation protecting consumers and employees go out the window. By requiring consumers and employees to void their right to take them to court, these corporations get away with violating hundreds of state and federal laws designed to protect consumers and employees because they know that people will not want to go through the arbitration process.
There is no judge nor jury in arbitration. Arbitration is when two or more parties agree to settle a dispute outside of court through a supposedly neutral third party. In arbitration, the arbitrator is both the judge and jury as he makes all the rules and calls the shots. The arbitrator decides the dispute, and it is not required of him to consider the law when he makes the decision. To make matters, you cannot appeal once a decision is made.
The Supreme Court allows this. The US Supreme Court has, over the past 25 years allowed companies to force arbitration onto their consumers. Arbitration is extremely costly to pursue; it can cost a few thousand dollars just to bring a claim. After that, arbitration fees can run upwards of $10,000. Throw in expert testimony, your own attorney’s fees, and miscellaneous costs and pursuing arbitration can easily reach six figures. Companies know most consumers and employees won’t pursue arbitration.
It can be difficult to find a new credit card, phone plan, or insurance policy that does not require you to waive your rights; however, with this information you can be more selective as a consumer of these goods. Consumer rights attorneys are fighting diligently to push back on the type of legislation that permits large corporations to take advantage of their consumers and get away with violating important laws.
Under many cases, our firm may be able to help you defeat an arbitration clause and take your case to court. Jibrael S. Hindi and his team of consumer rights lawyers will fight for your rights! You do not pay a dime until your case is won. Call 1-844-JIBRAEL or contact us online to explore your legal options.