Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Use Amazon, Uber or You’ve probably signed away your right to sue them

CNN Business: “Tucked into the sign-up process for many popular e-commerce sites and apps are dense terms-of-service agreements that legal experts say are changing the nature of consumer transactions, creating a veil of secrecy around how these companies function. The small print in these documents requires all signatories to agree to binding arbitration and to clauses that ban class actions. Just by signing up for these services, consumers give up their rights to sue companies like Amazon, Uber and Walmart before a jury of their peers, agreeing instead to undertake a private process overseen by a paid arbitrator. Binding arbitration clauses have been common for decades, whether buying a car or joining a membership club like Costco (but the proliferation of apps and e-commerce means that such clauses now cover millions of everyday commercial transactions, from buying groceries to getting to the airport. In 2019, the US Supreme Court issued the latest in a series of rulings upholding companies’ rights to enforce binding arbitration agreements and banning class action cases.

Consumers are “losing access to the courthouse,” said Imre Szalai, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He authored a 2019 study which found that 81 companies in the Fortune 100 employ some form of consumer arbitration agreements, with clauses that cover more than 60% of US retail e-commerce sales. In an email, Amazon said it works to resolve customer concerns about its own products or those offered by third-party sellers on its site. “As a result, the vast majority of customer complaints are resolved informally,” said a company spokesperson. “Every customer is important to us, so we seek to resolve customer complaints individually with the customer whenever possible.”…

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.