"You Can't Sue Me"...four little words that carry big consequences!

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You may have never heard of Mandatory Binding Arbitration, but that wouldn't prevent this unfair practice, visited on unsuspecting consumers, from destroying your life. Buried in the fine print of many consumer contracts for credit cards, new homes and cars are clauses that stack the deck against American consumers, forcing you to give up your rights to seek justice through the courts. And these contracts force you to surrender your rights before a dispute even occurs.

Tell Congress to support the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007

Why is Binding Mandatory Arbitration bad for American consumers?

Making us waive our right to sue is just another way corporations place themselves above the laws that are created and intended to protect us. By taking away our right to gain access to the courts, corporations no longer have to worry about their wrongdoings being exposed. As a result, if they don't adhere to governmental regulations, who will know about it? Access to the courts is our most effective means of holding companies accountable for their actions

Ask Jordan Fogal, who was defrauded by the builder of her "dream home" and, thanks to a Mandatory Binding Arbitration clause, lost everything in her fight for justice.

Read Jordan's story

Or ask Cheryl Sanford, whose mother Dortha died from two falls and a urinary tract infection as a result of inadequate care, just 21 days after moving into the nursing home.

Read Cheryl's story

Or ask Fonza Luke, who was fired for "insubordination" after almost 30 years at her job where she had received only the highest performance ratings. Forced into arbitration, Fonza wound up with no relief whatsoever.

Read Fonza's story

Mandatory Binding Arbitration prevents defrauded or wronged consumers from taking their cases to court. Instead, their cases are decided by arbitrators who are not bound by the rules that ensure consumers get a fair shake in the civil justice system. Their cases are never heard by a judge or jury and the arbitrator's decision is usually impossible to appeal.

Currently, most Americans are bound by at least one Binding Mandatory Arbitration clause - often without their knowledge. Each day more home buyers, credit card users, insurance holders, and car buyers are forced to give up their constitutional right to have their case heard by a jury of their peers. So when powerful business interests take advantage of them, they are left with no recourse or remedy to recover their losses.
Tell Congress to support the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007

Mandatory Binding Arbitration is Often Biased:

Because businesses are the only repeat customers of the arbitration companies, they are inclined to rule in favor of the businesses - but it is difficult to document this bias because it is almost impossible to appeal arbitrators' rulings and confidentiality is often strictly enforced.

Mandatory Binding Arbitration is Prohibitively Costly:

When consumers try to hold businesses accountable through arbitration, they must pay costly filing fees- often more than $750 just to initiate a case. Even worse, these fees do not cover the arbitrator's hourly charges, generally in the range of $200 to $300 per hour. The fees must be paid in advance, and often add up to tens of thousands of dollars.

Mandatory Binding Arbitration Can Force Travel to Inconvenient Locations:

Arbitration clauses often require that hearings be held in locations inconvenient to injured consumers, requiring them to bear the cost of long-distance travel. For example, the Internet auction site e-Bay requires customers to travel to its home turf in California to arbitrate any dispute.

Mandatory Binding Arbitration Allows Only Limited Remedies:

Courts can provide a range of remedies not available to a claimant in arbitration. For example, a court order can compel the offending party to change their practices, preventing future harm to consumers. As well, arbitration results are not open to public scrutiny. As a result, arbitration awards to consumers and employees are substantially lower than court awards and do not result in changes to unfair and dangerous practices.
Mandatory Binding Arbitration Prohibits Class Actions:

Nearly every arbitration clause prohibits participation in class action lawsuits, the only effective remedy for wide-scale scams that defraud individual consumers. Individuals do not have the time or resources to recognize, investigate, and prove the existence of such fraudulent practices.

Don't get stuck the next time you apply for a credit card, buy a car or sign a contract for a new home. Don't let big corporations push you around.

It's costly. It's time consuming. It's unfair. It's time to eliminate pre-dispute Binding Mandatory Arbitration from all consumer contracts!

Read More Stories about Binding Mandatory Arbitration

Source: People Over Profits Newsletter

More Resources:


Paul Bland's Testimony on mandatory arbitration effects

National Association of Consumer Advocates
The Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and in the House by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), reflects the FAA's original intent by requiring that agreements to arbitrate employment, consumer, franchise, or civil rights disputes be made after the dispute has arisen. It will ensure that citizens have a true choice between arbitration and the traditional civil court system.

Tell Congress to support the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007

Join the People Over Profits Grassroots Network.

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