“The civil jury is a valuable safeguard to liberty.”
– Alexander Hamilton
More and more of everyday American life is controlled by contracts that must be signed in order to receive a product or service. What’s the big deal? Isn’t this just doing business? Largely glossed over by consumers who quickly “click” in agreement; some assert that these contracts help to make consumer transactions and the handling of any disputes more efficient. Consumers, however, need to take a closer look. Embedded in the fine print is a sustained attack upon consumer rights and access to justice.
Buried in everyday agreements for products, services, and employment is fine print saying if you are harmed, you can’t go before an impartial jury. Instead, these forced arbitration clauses send you to a decision-maker picked by the company that wronged you.
Arbitration is a private system. There is no public review of decisions and there is not right to appeal. This forced, or mandatory arbitration means giving up our most fundamental legal protection: the right to equal justice under the law.
We need to send a clear message that it’s unacceptable for corporations to use forced arbitration to avoid accountability for their actions and exempt themselves from the civil rights and consumer laws that are the foundation of United States society.
Take action! Don’t allow the fine print to forfeit or severely limit your Seventh Amendment right.