Consumer Rights are in Jeopardy
How many consumers recognize that when they “agree” to a licensing agreement, when they get a new cell phone, when they open an account at a bank, when they buy a new computer, or a new software program, that they are “agreeing” to waive their rights to go to court, if they are cheated, and they may not have consumer protections that the state legislature has provided to them?
Credit Card Companies, Banks, cell phone companies, computer manufacturers, software companies all want to force the consumer to arbitrate any disputes with them, with very limited rights, for a cost that most times exceeds the damages, instead of going to court, under the state law consumer protection statutes. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, almost all big corporations do this.
In our own practice we have successfully litigated against a health insurance company, that, without ever disclosing that the policy required arbitration of any disputes, included a drastic one sided requirement that any disputes between the health insurer and an an insured policyholder, including the requirement that the arbitrator(s) could only be a current or former insurance company employee with at least 5 years experience! (How’s that for the fox guarding the hen house??) If you’d like to see the case documents, our Wallant v Freedom Life case they are here, on our website: http://www.liggiolaw.com/lawyer-attorney-1440071.html
This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of AT&T Mobility v Concepcion, which can, in one decision, wipe out many consumer protections. Here is the link tot he excellent Alliance for Justice Report that explains how important the Concepcion case is for all of us. http://www.afj.org/judicial-selection/arbitration-report-final.pdf