The U.S. Supreme Court enforces carriers' arbitration clauses

The U.S. Supreme Court enforces carriers' arbitration clauses
If you're one of the few people who's actually read your wireless contract (or if you're a lawyer), then you know that there is an arbitration clause in your contract, forcing you to make complaints individually, rather than a class-action format. But some states, like Washington and California, have still allowed class-action suits, describing the arbitration clause as "unconscionable".

But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of companies' right to force arbitration. The decision came from AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, in which the Concepcion family was charged sales tax on supposedly 'free' phones, and filed a class-action suit against AT&T. AT&T argued that the case should be dismissed because of the arbitration clause.

While the Concepcion family won in both California, and the Ninth Circuit Court, the Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that companies could enforce their arbitration clauses. That means that companies, like AT&T and other wireless carriers, will be able to confine customer dissent to individual arbitration, rather than class-action suits. While that means tremendous savings for carriers' legal departments, it also represents a loss of leverage for customers.

source: Ars Technica via Engadget


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