01/31/2012 // San Francisco, CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // San Francisco Consumer Protection Lawyer Jeffrey Keller
San Francisco, CA (San Francisco Consumer Protection Lawyer News) — Consumers are up in arms and demanding their right to a day in court, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a ruling that prohibited arbitration clauses under the 1996 Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA). The California consumer protection attorneys at Keller Grover LLP, who have long expressed their outrage about forced arbitration, stated, “Once again the Supreme Court has shown its true colors and ruled for big business and an injustice has been imposed on the American people.”
In theory, arbitration is the process where two parties’ differences are subjected to the judgment of an impartial person, or group appointed by mutual consent or statutory provision. Arbitration clauses provide that a damaged person cannot sue the business; instead they must enter arbitration to settle the dispute.
“While arbitration may sound fair enough, by using a third party to settle disputes between consumers and businesses—that couldn’t be farther from the truth,” explains Jeffrey Keller, a California consumer protection lawyer at Keller Grover LLP. “The problem is arbitrators are hired by the business and paid by the business. This causes the arbitration process to skew in favor of the business—not the consumer—because, they aren’t going to ‘bite the hand that feeds them.’”
The Supreme Court only strengthened this unjust practice against consumers when it overturned a ruling by a U.S. appeals court in San Francisco in an 8-1 decision, preventing arbitration clauses in certain agreements under the 1996 Credit Repair Organizations Act, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Supreme Court found it was not the intention of Congress to prohibit arbitration of disputes for companies that claimed to help improve people’s credit scores. Their bizarre interpretation of the law that requires that credit repair companies must inform consumers that they have the “right to sue companies that violate the CROA,” was essentially that consumers have the right to be informed, but not to actually sue.
This isn’t the first time the high court has ruled in favor of mandatory arbitration. As Keller Grover previously reported in “Los Angeles Employment Lawyer: Consumer Class Action Suits On Life-Support,” the Supreme Court ruled last April that corporations, like AT&T, may use arbitration clauses to prevent dissatisfied consumers or disgruntled employees from joining together and filing a class action lawsuit; instead they must enter mandatory individual arbitration.
“This ruling only gave business permission to avoid potentially expensive class action lawsuits by using arbitration,” explains Keller, a California consumer protection lawyer. “These arbitration clauses are only creating a safety net for businesses to shield them from accountability.”
But, all hope is not lost. The Arbitration Fairness Act—S.987—was introduced last year, which would amend the Federal Arbitration Act to invalidate all arbitration clauses in consumer and employment contracts, the Los Angeles Times revealed. Unfortunately, due to the immense lobbying against the proposed Arbitration Fairness Act, the bill has not moved since is introduction in May.
This news was brought to you by the Bay Area consumer protection lawyers at Keller Grover LLP.
Keller Grover is an experienced employment law firm that has played leading roles in a wide variety of employment related claims, including breach of contract cases and discrimination and harassment cases based on race, sex, age, disability and other legally protected categories. Keller Grover LLP is dedicated to helping workers whose wage and hour rights have been violated. For more information about the San Francisco consumer protection lawyers at Keller Grover and employment law cases, please visit www.kellergover.com.
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