Coordinators

Other Contributors

About Us

www.clpblog.org

The contributors to the Consumer Law & Policy blog are lawyers and law professors who practice, teach, or write about consumer law and policy. The blog is hosted by Public Citizen's Consumer Justice Project, but the views expressed here are solely those of the individual contributors (and don't necessarily reflect the views of institutions with which they are affiliated). To view the blog's policies, please click here.

« Senate Negotiators and Banking Committee Agree on Aid for Those Facing Foreclosure | Main | Public Citizen wins against anti-consumer copyright claim »

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b7a769e200e55258c6058833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference New Poll: Americans Say "No Thanks" To Binding Arbitration:

» Survey Reveals Public's Ability to be Swayed by Questions from PointOfLaw Forum
From the American Association for Justice, a May 20 news release, New Poll: "Americans Say 'No Thanks' To Binding Arbitration"Washington, DC--Americans generally disapprove of binding arbitration provisions in consumer contracts as an alternative to ci... [Read More]

Comments

Bob

Wow, what fair and balanced questions! This is obviously a mandate for Anti-Arbitration, considering that 99.9% of those polled didn't understand what they were voting for.

I think it's funny that that a "pro-consumer" website hates arbitration so much. What, consumers only win 5 or 6 % of the time in the one flawed survey you rely on? Flawed because it only addressed the collection industry. Go figure, lots of consumers who owe debts lose in arbitration. I'm sure they'd all be exonerated in the courts. Oh wait...

Why not list how consumers fare in court, where less than 2% will ever have their cases heard at all, let alone win? But it's their RIGHT! Yeah, the right to have no lawyer take their case because it's not worth enough money. Arbitration's win rate starts to look a little better.

I'm just tired of the hypocrites that pretend like doing away with binding arbitration will somehow be a windfall for consumer rights. It won't. It will just lead to more backed up courts, and lawyers being even more selective in their clients. Who does that hurt? You don't want to admit it, but it's the consumer. I think you should be a little ashamed of yourselves.

Bob

Oh wait, I didn't read the "Arbitrator picked by the company" part well enough. Sure, that's what always happens in all situations.

You guys should be REALLY ashamed of yourselves. I know you're trying to do the right thing as you see it, but you're losing any objectivity you might have once had.

beans

Bob -

You are right in one sense. The courts are no panacea. There may be instances, particularly in situations where two large entities are involved, where arbitration is preferable. But here's where your argument breaks down: mandatory pre-dispute binding arbitration cannot be considered fair because it is, as a practical matter, imposed by one party on the other.

Arbitration Victims

I wonder whether "Bob" was ever forced or talked into binding arbitration because, "It is cheaper, faster, more fair and quicker," than a law suit?


We have been and it is the BIGGEST injustice in our tortured court system. Even if you believe that you are an educated, sophisticated consumer, arbitration can hang you out to dry.


All too often the arbitrators and the attorneys are in collusion. One can't prove it of course. The system is set up against the consumer and for dishonest business practices. The witnesses, attorneys and arbitrator can get away with perjury as well as not following proper legal procedures and there is nothing that the consumer can do about it.


WHY? Because, there are NO written records!


Not only will BA cost the consumer as much or even more than a law suit in legal fees—a fact that is hidden from the consumer by the claims that arbitration is cheaper—there are NO APPEALS. Once the case is arbitrated, one has no recourse whatsoever, the arbitrator and attorneys will not even respond to your questions. The only course of action is perhaps the internet or writing a book about the less than fair experiences in order to warn other people.


Arbitration is a way for dishonest businesses to cheat the consumer with full support and approval from the legal system. One can "win" a case and still not be able to recoup funds that a business may have stolen from the consumer.


That was our experience. We "won" our case but, were still out tens of thousands of dollars while the attorneys, the arbitrator and the defendants are laughing all the way to the bank.


If there are congressional hearings on these unscrupulous arbitration practices we would gladly testify.


Speaking from very bitter experience.


NO ARBITRATION—EVER AGAIN!

Cindy

Something got hosed up on my first attempt to post, so I'll try again and hope it doesn't post a duplicate.

Bob's argument falls apart for other reasons, too.

He fails to acknowledge the bias in the Institute for Legal Reform survey a few weeks ago that claimed the opposite. ILR's survey questions failed to educate respondents on any of the downside of arbitration.

He quotes the statistic of only 2% of cases in litigation ever going to trial but FAILS to add a crucial 'detail,' that many of these cases SETTLE and never HAVE TO go to trial, a huge savings of time and money for litigants. Settling before arbitration seems less likely from the builder/home warranty complaints I see at our consumer org, because the incentive for the company is missing. Why should a builder or warranty co settle when they know they are much more likely to win in arbitration where they often do choose the arbitration company? They claim the homeowner gets to "choose" from the pool of arbitrators, but the pool is contaminated, because they all do repeat biz w/the industry, not with consumers. One of the arbitration co's frequently mandated by the real estate industry is/was owned by a disbarred attorney.

Homeowners our org has talked to almost overwhelmingly report ridiculously unfair treatment in arbitration. Arbitrators who come from questionable co's as noted above. Arbitrators who don't consider the homeowner's evidence. Unexplained awards that leave the homeowner with nothing, or pennies on the dollar. Failure to follow laws, or disclose conflict of interest. Arbitration by documentation only where the homeowner isn't even allowed to be present, and naturally they lose with no explanation.

I've seen the type of construction defects and documentation that are being ignored. These are not houses with mismatched paint, but houses with severe foundation failure, leaks, mold and rot, and shoddy unsafe construction, dangerous electrical problems, and code violations. Nothing is being consistently enforced. The building industry has lobbied to shape the law in their favor already. Arbitration just makes that worse.

Arbitration also HIDES complaints so that future home buyers can't find out about some really bad builders.

One state legislator told me years ago, "It is up to the consumer to enforce the law." There is no way they can do that if their case is buried in private industry-run arbitration, where they are at a disadvantage.

A half truth is still a lie, Bob!

Linda

Thank you, AAJ! After reading the last survey conducted for American Chamber of Commerce, and watching the pitiful lady on video who "won" in arbitration with Sears, I really wondered if my fellow Americans had suddenly become blind sheep.

If pre-dispute, mandatory binding arbitration is so wonderful, as it is being touted by the Chamber, then why are the arbitration hearings kept secret and there are no public records? Why is it mandatory?

Having been bound by a pre-dispute, mandatory binding arbitration agreement and forced to use an industry supported for-profit, private arbitration company, I will never be dooped again. Give me "JUSTICE," not a kangaroo court.

Eric

Another piece of info that is not usually shared is that the arbitrator is not required to follow the law. We lost an arbitration claim last year. Even though the arbitrator stated in his ruling that we were not given disclosure forms and the real estate agent incorrectly listed the home as a four bedroom home when it is only a three bedroom, he ruled in favor of the broker, seller and agent.

The arbitration agreement we signed was for disclosure issues in a real estate purchase. How can it be ok for a real estate agent to withhold disclosure documents? How can it be ok for a real estate agent to lie on a MLS?

Both of these issues are disclosure issues which is what the arbitration agreement was supposed to cover.

Say no to arbitration, not only do you give up your right to be heard in court but you also give up your protection under state law.

Janet Ahmad

To those of you (big business) who promote forced Binding Mandatory Arbitration (BMA) clauses.

If arbitration is so good for the consumer then why not give consumers a choice rather than forcing them to BMA.

I’m sure people would use it if it was fair and worked in the best interest of the consumer.

Educating the consumer, that’s what this is all about.

Big Business can educate the consumer to promote arbitration as an alternative. Explain how people will give up their constitutional rights if they go to binding arbitration. I’m sure they will understand the benefits and make an informed decision. Its simple, offer arbitration as an alternative after a dispute arises.

Big Business BMA credibility questions are; why does Big Business force BMA on consumers as a condition to buying a product or using a service? What is there to hide and why is the process not open to public scrutiny. It gives the appearance big business has something to hide from the consumer. Let’s face it; it’s getting harder to sell BMA when customers have no choice.

There is a consumer revolt in the making over abusive BMA clauses by industry giants and the reason the Arbitration Fairness Act was introduced.

Jordan Fogal

If arbitration is so fair why is it manditory? Why do they shove it down our throats? We have been though arbitration twice and know how unfair it is. We have more than earned the right to say this is a major cause of consumer distrust. Until you are forced behind those closed doors at the mercy of big business you have no idea how horrible it can be.
Jordan Fogal:
http://www.chron.com/CDA/archi.....08_4557059
Above is an article from the Houston Chronicle on some Tremont Homes/Stature Construction fiascos.The article points out others in our neighborhood have the right to sue and win because they are in the right but the arbitration clause ruined us. If you would like to visualize quality construction for yourself ride by Hyde Park Crescent off Waugh Dr. My house # 34 has just been completely redone: walls torn out on all three floors, sub flooring, stucco removal on two sides of the house, and of course the roof work and new carpet.They were painting the outside yesterday. Next door look at the entire back off of #33 you can see the scaffolding covering all three floors. You can go into the gate and look at the backs of these two and judge for yourself. #30, #35 #36 and several others have already completed the correct reconstruction of their homes. Do do not believe me or the mounds of tremont spins go see for yourself. Or you can go to public records at the court house and see Statue vs Aztec roofers..where they sued their own roofers and of course lost.
If you google my name you can read my sworn testimony to congress on the defects to our home and our subdivision and see pictures of Tremont/Statue’s pattern of behavior. Also you can read my appearance before the city council describing their shadow companies mentioned in the Better Business Bureau article and Mother Jones Magazine. One might also note in the Mother Jones article the tremont lawyer who has a problem with the truth as proven by the reporter.
Some of my neighbors were able to sue and recover. My house was one of the most defective, according to the builders testimony so they protected themselves by inserting an arbitration clause which did not allow me to sue or bring their activies into open court.. Our house has been in foreclosure 3 times now. No one has been able to inhabit our home since we had to abandon it because of defects and mold. We bought it new in April of 2002. Our foreclosures caused by bad builders are hidden among millions of others in the sub prime debacle.

Jordan Fogal
jfogal281@aol.com

The comments to this entry are closed.

Subscribe to CL&P

RSS/Atom Feed

To receive a daily email of Consumer Law & Policy content, enter your email address here:

Search CL&P Blog

Recent Posts

October 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31