“Imagine you’ve just stepped into the ring for a prize fight. Only to learn that the referee and the judges are employed by your opponent.”
Forced Arbitration is gaining popularity among big name companies because it allows corporations to control the direction and even the outcome of any conflict.
The main reason forced arbitration exists is because most people don’t know they’ve entered into a forced arbitration clause and by the time it matters they’ve already signed over their right to pursue their grievance in court. Companies hide forced arbitration clauses in contracts that you commit to everyday. People have no idea that when they get a credit card, take a job or sign up for a cell phone that in the fine print of the contracts, they have unknowingly agreed to give up their right to a jury trial as guaranteed by our constitution. If we knew what was hidden in the fine print of these contracts we’d be hard pressed to sign so quickly, but we’d also be crippling are ability to find a job or increase our credit score or stay connected through commonplace technology. It’s an unfair battle, and it degrades the system of government that we fought for back to the American Revolution.
Where are forced arbitration clauses hiding?
Corporations in America love forced Arbitration clauses. You see them throughout the vast majority of consumer products:
- More than 95% of all credit card debt is subject to forced arbitration
- It’s almost impossible to purchase a car new or used in America without seeing a forced arbitration clause
- More than 90% of all Nursing Homes require forced arbitration clauses in their residency agreements.
- 30-40% of all American workers are subject to forced arbitration clauses.
In our democracy, the courts hold out the promise of safeguarding everyone regardless of wealth or power.
Buried in everyday agreements for products, services, and jobs is fine print saying that if you are harmed you cannot go before an impartial jury or judge. Instead these forced arbitration clauses send you to a decision maker chosen by the company that wronged you. Not surprisingly, one study showed that arbitrators ruled for companies over consumers 93.8% of the time, and you’re stuck with their decision because there’s no appeal. Through this system big companies evade responsibility for violating anti-discrimination, consumer protection, and public health laws, all of which were passed to prevent harm to the public and you. In addition, forced arbitration clauses often ban class-action suits, which allow individuals to band together to bring their common claims against big corporations.
If you live in the modern world, you’ve most certainly lost your rights in the fine print… whether you know it or not.
One of the more famous cases where big corporations tried to use forced arbitration in an unfair and ridiculous manner is the case of General Mills. General Mills adopted a forced arbitration clause with a long list of unfair and unbelievable conditions. One was if a child goes onto Facebook and “likes” General Mills, they’ve now agreed to forced arbitration and cannot go to court in the event something happens.
The public spoke out. Tons of consumers got angry, started posting about it on Facebook and Twitter. Within a week General Mills folded against the pressure and backed out of the forced arbitration clause.
We have the power as consumers to change things.
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If you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, call on the New York personal injury lawyers of Greene & Reid. Call us toll free at (800) 886-9665 or simply complete a free online consultation form, and one of our attorneys will contact you to discuss your accident and answer your questions, free of charge. Greene & Reid has successfully advocated for clients in Cortland, Syracuse, Newark, andWatertown.
Our New York personal injury lawyers handle cases in the areas of auto accident, birth injury, boating accident, brain injury, consumer fraud, drug injuries, dog bites, insurance disputes, motorcycle accident, nursing home abuse, slip and fall accident, or wrongful death.