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Cable & Satellite

Cable and satellite service providers require customers to forfeit their right to go to court by insisting on forced arbitration as condition for service. Forced arbitration is generally presented in one of two ways by cable and satellite TV providers: it is either buried deep in their initial contracts, or it is imposed on consumers in “bill stuffers” – small pamphlets to customers along with their monthly bills. Cable companies commonly take advantage of the “change of terms” clauses in their contracts, changing the terms of their agreements at any time.

In an example of how sneaky these clauses can be, DirecTV once tried to represent its class action ban as some sort of mutually beneficial agreement: “Neither you nor we shall be entitled to join or consolidate claims in arbitration by or against other individuals or entities, or arbitrate any claim as a representative member of a class or in private attorney general capacity.” But, because a bunch of cable companies would never join together to file a class action against a consumer, this provision only benefits the provider.