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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Maybe You’ll Have Your Day in Court Again : Supreme Court's Dreadful Decisions

Lifetime appointments may not be such a good idea after all  

04/13/2015

Hopefully you've never had a serious dispute with any of your credit card companies, or your bank, your investment broker, your mortgage lender, your cell phone service, your cable television provider, or increasingly just about everyone you contract with, even local merchants such as a gym or a tanning salon. 


Because deep in the legalese behind the checkbox that you clicked on the Internet labeled “Accept”, or in the text you never read before you signed a paper contract, is a policy that over half of U.S. businesses have adopted that says you can't take them to court if you have a disagreement. You can only submit to "arbitration."

Arbitration clauses began their proliferation in corporate contracts when the business-friendly Supreme Court in 2011 approved companies mandating it as the only option for settling a dispute. Of the 50 largest banks, by the following year 28 had already limited their checking account holders to arbitration. 


In a survey of 350 companies, the percent that allow only arbitration to 43% last year from 16% in 2012. In some categories, there is virtually no exception: 99.9% of cell phone users have — unwittingly, no doubt — agreed to arbitration as have 92% of prepaid cards and 86% of private student loan borrowers.

In a 2013 case, the Court then doubled down, allowing corporations to add a rule that forbids us from joining a class action to seek relief in a dispute. The Court said that we should not expect a "guarantee of an affordable procedural path."




The result, of course, is that consumers are left on their own to pursue a complaint — even though it may be a problem shared by hundreds or even thousands of others — because they are barred from joing the others to form a class by the rules the company forced upon them. The cost of a lawyer to battle as an individual a battalion of attorneys at giant corporations is prohibitive. Consumers are forced to leave the money on the table and surrender. "Forget it. It's impossible. Not even worth trying", says a lawyer with Public Justice, a D.C. non-profit. [3]

The effect of the Supreme Court's decision is to hand victory over consumers to corporations without a fight. The number of arbitration claims for amounts under $1,000 have been driven almost to extinction. 

A VOICE FOR THE PEOPLE

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau was created by the Dodd-Frank reform law, and it required that the new agency study the arbitration question. It took three-years to produce a just-issued 728-page report that concluded what anyone who has been subjected to arbitration could have come up with over a lunch break, namely, that arbitration lets businesses act against customers with impunity and customers regularly lose. If the CFPB does what it was created for, we could at least see a bitterly fought battle against business interests and their lobbying organization, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. At least the practice is finally being contested in the open, or so it should be hoped.


But for the years any improvement will take, the deck is stacked in favor of business. Companies are now even making acceptance of arbitration for dispute resolution a condition of employment, stifling employees who may at some pint have claims of wage theft, discrimination or other labor law matters. 


The suppression of their complaints serves to make illegal conduct by businesses invisible.

Under arbitration the complainant and the corporation's representative go before usually a single individual from a firm that specializes in judging disputes. The arbitrator hears both sides and renders a binding decision. So much simpler and economical than a court trial. Problem is, the arbitration firm chosen and hired by the corporation. If that firm decides against the corporation more than a token number of times, they lose the corporation as a client. A 2011 “Frontline” documentary on PBS showed the example of First USA, a company that handles credit card transactions. It had won 19,618 cases in arbitration. How many cases did card users win? 87.

IT’S CLASS ACTION THAT MATTERS

When a bank or corporation demands that we agree not to join a class action should we ever have a dispute, we cannot exactly go down the street to another bank, or search out another credit card company because they have developed what could be called a monopoly of policy that shuts us out if we don't submit. 


Best protection consumers have now is the FCRA (Fair
As an example of what is lost in the Supreme Court's several decisions that chip away at class action, consider the case brought against a major bank a few years back. 

Say you pay several bills at once online which in total will accidentally lead to an overdraft. 


The bank's computer algorithms were written to process the biggest payments first so as to reach overdraft quickest, and then charge an overdraft penalty such as $35 for each of the smaller payments that were deliberately processed last. In a class action against Wells Fargo in 2010 the bank's clients were awarded $203 million for such practices. By its 2013 ruling the Supreme Court is effectively saying to consumers, atop whining. Just pay the multiple fines to the bank and move on.




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ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

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The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

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Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

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We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

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By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

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THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

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The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

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By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

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