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Plague Of Stealthy Arbitration Clauses Erodes Legal Rights Of Unsuspecting Public


The findings of a study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau show a disturbing trend underway by corporate america – blanket credit service contracts with arbitration agreements to prevent the public’s ability to sue.

The study found that 75% of consumers did not understand they were subject to an arbitration clause in their agreements. The language of the arbitration clause in many credit card service agreements not only blocked an individual from pursuing a claim against the credit card company but more importantly bared anyone entering the agreement from participating in a class action lawsuit.

The conclusion of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is that the financial industry is moving to “restrict consumer relief” in the wake of new regulations created during the great recession. The effect of credit card agreements requiring the acceptance of an arbitration agreement will mean that these companies will not be held accountable for misdeeds. It is widely understood by industry professionals on both sides of the issue that members of arbitration panels are predisposed to side with the corporations, thus removing true accountability even when lending practices are obviously predatory.

Arbitration Clauses Are A Growing Trend By Employers

As arbitration clauses are added to more and more types of service contracts the net effect will be to allow corporations to avoid a fair playing field at the expense of the publics rights even outside of the financial industry. As a result of the 2011 Supreme Court decision to uphold this type of agreement, arbitration clauses have spilled over from service agreements into employment contracts. Large employers are adding these clauses to their agreements to prevent employees from participating in class action law suits. This is dangerous new territory as quite often class action law suites against employers often have much higher stakes than credit scores and bottom lines including personal injury from exposure to toxic substances that have far reaching effects, or unfair labor practices.

Civil trial attorney Bernard F. Walsh of the personal injury law firm Goldman Babboni and Walsh had this to say about the new disturbing trend of adding arbitration clauses to service contracts, “Arbitration is a very nasty attempt to remove an individuals rights to seek justice in a court room with a jury of ones piers in a citizens own community. Arbitration is a new contract clause that we are seeing in almost every agreement that the public is asked to sign. By agreeing to arbitration people are giving up their right to a jury trial and agreeing that a arbitration panel will decide if they have been wronged and what, if any, damages they deserve. Arbitration clauses are a way of getting around a citizens right to bring a claim in court with a jury deciding on their claim.”

Plague Of Stealthy Arbitration Clauses Erodes Legal Rights Of Unsuspecting Public

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh



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