From Credit Cards To Mail-Order Steaks: 87 Companies That Are Taking Away Your Right To Sue
by Chris Morran, Consumerist
A recent study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that even though most Americans have at least one financial product — checking accounts, credit cards, loans, investment accounts — that use forced arbitration clauses to strip the account-holder of their right to sue, very few of us know about these restrictions or understand what they mean. And as the list we’ve compiled shows, it’s not just banks that are playing the “get out of jail free” card with arbitration.
Arbitration clauses allow companies to force customers with legal disputes out of the courtroom and into the process of private, often confidential, binding arbitration. Some clauses go a step further and say that there will, in most cases, be no actual hearing. Instead, the entire process can take place over the phone or through the exchange of documents.
The most troubling aspect of arbitration clauses is the fact they almost universally contain bans on class actions. So even if a company harms multiple customers in an identical way — say, through system-wide overcharges or by charging an entire class of customer a fee they did not owe — each single customer must enter into arbitration on their own. Research by the CFPB shows that very few individuals elect to go this route.