Overcoming the Achilles’ Heel of Consumer Protection: Limiting Mandatory Arbitration Clauses in Consumer Contracts
Many lawsuits are “doomed” irrespective of their merits. These lawsuits may neither contain frivolous claims nor lack vital evidence. Instead, they are precluded from judicial remedy because they arise out of contracts containing arbitration clauses. Aware of it or not, most Americans are bound by “several, if not dozens, of forced arbitration clauses.” Forced arbitration clauses are prevalent in “hundreds of millions of consumer contracts”; yet, consumers are generally unaware of the presence of these clauses. Mandatory arbitration clauses are often hidden within the fine print of terms for leases, and insurance, credit card, employment, and nursing home agreements. By simply signing a contract containing an arbitration clause or “clicking ‘I agree’ on a website,” a consumer may be instantly bound to take any dispute arising from that contract to arbitration.