Arbitration should be fair, not forced.
Most people don’t know that arbitration clauses are buried in the fine print of many contracts for purchasing products and services, and even for obtaining employment. These clauses force people to give up their right to go to court – even if a company harms them or rips them off. Instead, consumers are forced into arbitration.
In arbitration there is no impartial judge or jury. Arbitrators do not have to follow the law, and decisions are rarely appealable. Civil rights and consumer protection laws can become meaningless in arbitration. Because arbitration proceedings are usually secretive, companies’ illegal wrongdoing against consumers and workers is rarely subject to public oversight.
This is why we need a federal law to make arbitration truly voluntary. Eliminating forced arbitration clauses from contracts will give us – consumers and workers – the power to choose between going to court or using arbitration after a dispute arises.
By Lexi Pozonsky, Legal Intern Public Citizen has been fighting for years to ban forced arbitration clauses because they take away the rights of workers, consumers, and small businesses to have their day in court if harmed by a corporate wrongdoer. Forced arbitration clauses are non-negotiable terms in everyday contracts requiring future claims to be […]
Last month, a coalition of organizations applauded and supported the reintroduction of the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, a bill that would ban companies from imposing take-it-or-leave-it clauses on consumers, workers, servicemembers, and patients that would force them into secretive, binding arbitration proceedings. The FAIR Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019. […]
The financial software firm Intuit announced that shareholders voted down a proposal that would have forced shareholders into binding arbitration instead of allowing them their day in court if they sue the company, its officers or directors. Earlier this month, a coalition of organizations urged shareholders to vote against the proposal. In the only, only […]
Beginning in 2019, the rail operator Amtrak amended the terms and conditions for its passenger rail transportation services to include an arbitration provision that forces individuals into a private justice system that has no judge or jury, has limited right to appeal and is not bound by precedent. Amtrak’s arbitration provision states that it is […]