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Retain your right to sue - read the fine print
Old 02-04-2017, 06:19 AM   #1
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Retain your right to sue - read the fine print

There was something on the news. The Samsung phones (and probably many other products?) have a clause in the fine print in the little instruction book that says if you don't opt out within 30 days that you can't sue and ? will abide by arbitration ?

They did hidden camera interviews with the phone store employees who knew nothing of the clause and assured the "customer" he could sue. But of course, they had not read the fine print either.

Just one more reason to keep a fine magnifying glass handy ... besides using it to start campfires with all the illegal foreign sweepstakes mail you may need to quietly spirit away from your elderly relatives' houses.
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Old 02-04-2017, 06:28 AM   #2
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I saw that piece too.

WADR, I have much better things to do and it has never been a problem for me so I think I'll just take my chances. It seems to me a waste of time to spend time opting out of each arbitration clause given that in over 40 years I hae never had a problem.
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Old 02-04-2017, 06:56 AM   #3
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I am *not* a fan of binding arbitration having gone through the process with a contractor that cost us 10's of thousands of dollars.

Arbitration often requires both parties to pay into the process and if one party refuses - it's up to the other party to pay their half... That's what happened to us - we were being told that the only way to proceed was to pay the arbitor another $7500 for the contractors side of the fees. This was several months into the process. To us that was like throwing good money after bad and increasing our losses which were already substantial. At that point we could pay, or, since the contractor refused to pay the fees, we were now allowed to start over from scratch in civil court. Fortunately we'd been pursuing a remedy through the licensing board and the state attorney - and that resulted in a lesser settlement to us.

Unfortunately, there are too many things to avoid arbitration clauses... Flying on a plane, cable tv, phone service, etc...

I also had the experience of testifying in arbitration for my employer... There is no recourse if the arbitor or arbitration panel are biased. In this case one of the arbitors was clearly in the tank for the other company... blatently. And there is no recourse, no appeal.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:24 AM   #4
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Silly question: but if it's in the fine print for a consumer product, is imposing arbitration even legal?

In Europe I'm pretty sure it isn't. The small print is mostly worth the digital paper it isn't printed on ..
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Old 02-04-2017, 10:00 AM   #5
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Spncity hit the high spots, but the issue goes deeper.
Who defines the binding arbitration? Usually the business... using their process.
Who pays, legal cost if you lose? You do.
Where do you find the legal clause? Almost anywhere, and not just in the papers you receive with the product. For instance, Comcast in their infinite "instructions", refers to additional agreements that are available online from the company.

The Comcast basic agreement (without additional references ) contains 94,000 words and has an estimated read time of 77 minutes, according to word count.

A cell phone that I recently purchased, had the binding arbitration clause on page 34 of the 54 page instruction book, which is printed in 2 point type.which is about 1/4 the size of this.

Hmmm... how do you feel about consumer protection laws?
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Old 02-04-2017, 10:29 AM   #6
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It would seem to me each individual can invoke as much protection via a public notice such as, "Providing any product and/or service to me shall constitute agreement that 'my rules' apply, a copy of which can be obtained by...".
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Old 02-04-2017, 11:30 AM   #7
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When we were in our litigation/arbitration the following things were discovered, or explained to us by our lawyer.

- Arbitration does not have right of appeal. If an arbitrator is biased, there is no recourse... period. The decision is final, even if it is ridiculous in the face of the evidence.

- Arbitration, in theory, can be faster and cheaper... Faster because there aren't a gazillion motions to be entered, delaying, by the opposing attorneys... Cheaper because the process is faster so less lawyer fees... In our case, the process seemed to take the same amount of time I'd expect a civil case to take... From us filing for arbitration (because the contract required that path for dispute) to having an arbitrator assigned was several months... not so speedy.

- Arbitration can be friendlier to large corporations vs consumers... it's a business - and the large corporations bring more disputes to the arbitration services than the typical small consumer... so the arbitrators might feel a bit beholden, or more in favor of the party that provides their bread and butter.

My biggest complaint about the process is the lack of appeal even if the arbitrator rules in complete disregard to the evidence...

My second biggest complaint about the process is the one that burnt us - if the other party doesn't pay their half of the fees- the person bringing it either has to pay that fee themselves, or lose the money already paid in when they filed. This was several thousand dollars in our case. No refund, no recourse.
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Old 02-04-2017, 01:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
It would seem to me each individual can invoke as much protection via a public notice such as, "Providing any product and/or service to me shall constitute agreement that 'my rules' apply, a copy of which can be obtained by...".
... and subject to change without notice
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Old 02-04-2017, 01:59 PM   #9
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Yes but all this is just the free market at work. If you want to do business you have to do what The Man makes you do or else you don't deserve to do business. Consumer protection violates the business's right to proceed unencumbered without restraint or consequences. It would be the end of America and the hippies, communists, and drug addicts will have won.
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Old 02-04-2017, 05:19 PM   #10
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Described nicely by Douglas Adams:
Quote:
“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”
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