To the Editor:
If corporations are so sure that arbitration is such a terrific alternative for consumers, then let people choose it. The fact that these companies refuse to give individuals a choice, instead burying clauses in fine print and forcing people to accept these terms before they can get a credit card, bank account or job, speaks volumes about who benefits from forced arbitration clauses and class action bans.
Consumer advocates do not object to systems where both parties voluntarily agree to take a case out of the civil justice system once a lawsuit has been filed. In fact, the vast majority of cases filed in the United States are resolved informally through voluntary settlement.
However, once a wrongly injured person is required or pressured to have a dispute resolved outside the court system, the case is subject to bias and manipulation by those in control of the privatized system. As your series shows, these systems become nightmares for those forced into them.
The writer is executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School.