Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fight Arbitration Clauses

If you have ever signed a contract where you do not have the power to negotiate (the legal term is "Adhesion Contract"), you may have seen an increasing occurance of arbitration clauses. You are waiving your constitutional right to a fair and impartial hearing when you agree to arbitration. It is supposed to be cheaper than litigation in the court system, but that is not necessarily true. Also, the meetings are private. There is no public record of what occured in those meetings. In our court system, pleadings are recorded, which document the cases made by each side. Without this public record, it is easy for creditcard companies to get away with mistreating cardholders in these hearings. There is indications that this is exactly what is happening.

The Christian Science Monitor looked into this issue and found, "...the 10 most frequently used arbitrators - who decided almost 60 percent of the cases heard - decided in favor of the consumer only 1.6 percent of the time, while arbitrators who decided three or fewer cases decided for the consumer 38 percent of the time."

Do yourself a favor and take a look at the website and learn how to fight back, so that you don't find yourself being taken to the cleaners. If you are already in trouble with one of these contracts, find a consumer attorney.

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