Forced arbitration: A clause for concern

 

Source: Scott Medintz, Consumer Reports

Whether you realize it or not, chances are you have agreed to arbitration on dozens of occasions, forfeiting your right to take problems—even serious ones—with a product or service to court. Arbitration clauses have spread rapidly through the consumer landscape in recent decades, first in the financial and telecom industries and more recently—as new Consumer Reports research shows—into the realm of consumer products.

Because arbitration proceedings are private, and because arbitration clauses almost always forbid plaintiffs from joining together, companies can use arbitration to preemptively crush consumer challenges to their practices, no matter how predatory, discriminatory, unsafe—and even illegal—they may be.

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