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

Posted: , by Ken N.

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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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posted on 29 Apr 2011, 16:08

1. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)

Ugh...stupid cell phone companies. Folks have to know what they are signing up for. This works out fanstically for the cell companies because people can't just opt into a lawsuit, they have to do it one at a time. Most will just take the charges and move on...sucks for the customer, but it's your signature...

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 17:13

2. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Lol. You can thank the government for the sales tax on a free item. And the family was fucking stupid to sue over it. They probably could have argued for a credit on their next bill instead.

posted on 30 Apr 2011, 14:26

5. Rawrzellers (Posts: 224; Member since: 22 Aug 2010)

Haha anyone catch the HumancentiPAD episode of south park? Make sure you read your contracts.

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