The Fine Print: The Mandatory Arbitration Clause That You Didn’t Know You Agreed To

May 1, 2013  |  Other, Forced Arbitration

Every day, we sign our name on the dotted line for various products and services with the assumption that those we give are business to are not trying to deceive us. It is right to think that a national company with a long-running track record of business would not engage in shady business practices that would result in a lawsuit. Right?

Unfortunately, many businesses fail to act in the best interests of their customers, and legal action is sometimes the only way to right these corporate wrongs. But that consumer contract you just signed may have waived your right to trial and stacked the deck in favor of the company.

The American Association of Justice (AAJ) reports that many everyday contracts include forced arbitration clauses that take away your right to go to court. Instead, if and when there is a dispute (or even serious injury), you are forced to enter into a private arbitration tribunal that is set up by the very business in question. These tribunals are legal forums where an official, selected by the company you feel did something wrong,  will hear the case and determine an agreement. These private arbitration tribunals are designed to favor corporations, not individuals, protecting their assets; yet, due to the forced arbitration clause in the contract you signed, this is your sole option to fight for justice against any corporate wrongdoing that you have endured. Simply put, forced arbitration clauses are sneaky, expensive and a blatant attempt to avoid accountability for any harm or damage that the company has done.

This week marks the second anniversary of AT&T Mobility vs. Concepcion, a landmark case in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the authority to force consumers into mandatory arbitration. The decision represents a great injustice imposed on the American people. The decision increased the ability of corporations to escape responsibility, maximize profitability and let the people pay the price.

Businesses shouldn’t be afforded the right to make their own rules when it comes to the justice system. It is essential for consumers to be able to use the court system to ensure their rights are never abused by corporate negligence. It’s vital that you let Congress know that the use of mandatory arbitration clauses is abusive and needs to be stopped.

The national plaintiff’s law firm of Baron and Budd joins with AAJ in asking the American people to stand up for their rights by asking Congress to reintroduce the “Arbitration Fairness Act.” The legislation would restore the people’s rights to pursue justice and ensure accountability by eliminating the use of mandatory arbitration in civil, consumer and employment rights cases. If you would like to join AAJ’s “Take Action Now” campaign and restore your rights to seek justice in the courts, visit here.

To learn more about the law office of Baron and Budd, visit here.

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