Arbitration is a term that means disputes cannot go to a jury trial. Most businesses now have an arbitration provision in their contracts required the injured consumer to go before an arbitration board instead of seeking out a lawyer to help them have their day in Court.
Arbitration panels are used on a regular basis by large corporations and those that sit on the panel are not fools. They know who pays their bill and its not the consumer. They also compete with other arbitration groups for the business of large businesses that use arbitration as a tool to avoid accountability.
Arbitration is not a public forum. What happens goes on behind closed doors and businesses do not have to turn over crucial information about their wrong doing like they would in civil lawsuit.
So what does this mean for small consumer lawsuits? It means they are just going away without any justice.
At the Ninth Circuit’s 2011 Judicial Conference, a few reporters got an unusual chance to interview Justice Anthony Kennedy. They asked him about the Supreme Court’s shrinking docket. Justice Kennedy responded, “A lot of big civil cases are going to arbitration. I don’t see as many of the big civil cases.”
The American Arbitration Association is a group that is designated by businesses to handle its consumer arbitration. The AAA is named sole arbitrator in hundreds of millions of consumer contracts. (AT&T Mobility alone has over 60 million customers and requires its customers to take significant disputes to the AAA. Numerous other corporations with AAA clauses have tens of millions of customers.) So with the AAA specified in millions of consumer contracts, are large numbers of consumers rushing to arbitrate their disputes before the AAA?
Not really, In 2010, the AAA’s entire consumer docket for the entire country amounted to around 1,300 cases. Now that is out of hundreds of millions of individuals bound to arbitration by their contracts. In 2009 the AAA consumer docket was 900 cases.
So what does this mean to the American Consumer? Simple it means fouls just go away without redress. That spells big bucks for the nations largest consumer businesses. An average consumer may do nothing about a fictitious surcharge added to a monthly bill but if that fifty cent surcharge is added to the billing of five million consumers the business profits immensely from its criminal activity.
Ray Hodge & Associates proudly represents victims and their families across the state of Kansas, including Wichita, Andover, Derby, Goddard, Haysville, Mulvane, Rose Hill, Newton, El Dorado and Hutchinson. Call today for a free consultation all over the state of Kansas. We have proudly served clients in Sedgwick, Butler, Sumner, Harvey, Kingman and Reno Counties.