Update on progress of congressional bill that would restore American citizens' right to use the courts in disputes with corporatoins. The Arbitration Fairness Act is back again and has HADD's support. Currently, many industries use "arbitration clauses" in contracts for all kinds of consumer transactions, prohibiting consumers from suing in the event of disputes. This includes housing, warranties, cell phones, credit cards, and numerous other purchases or agreements with companies. Many complaints against builders and/or warranty companies include homeowners being hamstrung by arbitration clauses. Many times the arbitration clause was in a 3rd party warranty policy they didn't see until after closing. Because arbitrators do repeat business with the industry there is a conflict of interest and homeowners rarely win even when they "should." If they do win, they often only win a fraction of their damages or are unable to collect. Furthermore, arbitration is privately run and rarely public record, hiding numerous complaints from consumers trying to do their research before buying.

Congressional Lawmaers Introduce Arbitration Fairness Act
by Gerri Detweiler
May 17, 2011

You aren’t likely to pay much attention to forced arbitration clauses until you get trapped by one, and by then it’s too late. These clauses, found in many consumer contracts, take disputes out of the courts, and require settlement through an arbitrator. The arbitration process is supposed to be cheaper, faster, and more fair than the judicial system. But critics point out that arbitrators often find in favor of the companies that hire them—the same companies that are trying to avoid lawsuits by slipping these clauses into their contracts. ...


Franken bill would block mandatory arbitration clauses in cell phone contracts
By Derek Wallbank
May 17 2011

Franken's bill would prevent forced arbitration clauses in civil rights, consumer and employment cases, thus allowing consumers to always have a court option in disputes. ...