Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice

Justice League

NY Times:

On Page 5 of a credit card contract used by American Express, beneath an explainer on interest rates and late fees, past the details about annual membership, is a clause that most customers probably miss. If cardholders have a problem with their account, American Express explains, the company “may elect to resolve any claim by individual arbitration.”

Those nine words are at the center of a far-reaching power play orchestrated by American corporations, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

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.

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One thought on “Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice

  1. Read the fine print & your State’s laws too. Several years ago I worked on a credit card case in N.C. & the credit card agreement/contract stated that the cardholder agrees to arbitration under the laws of Delaware. Bank of America filed suit against the cardholder (overdue balance) & presented an arbitration award in their favor — but — they didn’t pay attention to the N.C. General Statutes, in particular, § 22B-3. Contracts with forum selection provisions. “Except as otherwise provided in this section, any provision in a contract entered into in North Carolina that requires the prosecution of any action or the arbitration of any dispute that arises from the contract to be instituted or heard in another state is against public policy and is void and unenforceable.” Ooops — since the arbitration award was under the laws of another State it wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on & the bank ended up taking a voluntary dismissal.
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