Forces arbitration in user agreements

Hi Will,

I was just reading an article in today’s NT Times regarding the increasing use of arbitration clauses by major corporations like American Express, Discover, Netfilx, EBay, etc in their user agreements. To quote the article:

“By inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies like American Express devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult to apply for a credit card, use a cellphone, get cable or Internet service, or shop online without agreeing to private arbitration. The same applies to getting a job, renting a car or placing a relative in a nursing home.”

I’m disturbed by this trend which basically prevents a consumers right to litigate when they are in the midst of a dispute. Many of the clauses force consumers to split the cost of arbitration which means if I dispute a $50.00 charge on my Amex bill, I could get stiffed for thousands of dollars in arbitration fees.

The entire article can be found here:

It does mention that Mass and California have taken some action to protect consumers there. Is this something that the legislature is looking at?


3 replies on “Forces arbitration in user agreements”

  1. HI Tony,

    This is a legitimate concern. It is not something that people have been talking about in the legislature. I’m concerned by what the article reports and am open to the possibility that there should be a state legislative response.

    I’m going to put this on the list of things we should be thinking about and try to get a better read on it.

    I’d be especially interested in hearing from folks who live in Massachusetts and have been personally affected by this.

    Will B.

  2. The supreme court stated in the Noel canning case that mandatory arbitration especially for people in union paying forced union dues,and since it’s part of the preamble of the constitution arbitration should be mandated,and since union federal laws supersedes the federal laws of congress arbitration should be mandated for all

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