The U.S. Supreme Court, especially the Roberts court, has passed down many decisions that have made it more difficult for consumers to have their day in court. Possibly the most onerous decisions have been those that have continued to uphold arbitration clauses in agreements.
A recent article in The Nation begins, “For more than forty years, the Supreme Court’s conservatives have been engaged in a campaign to shut the courthouse door to consumers, working people, small businesses and others seeking redress for corporate wrongdoing.”
The article goes on to describe the impact these decisions have had on ordinary people. A recent report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) found that contract clauses mandating pre-dispute arbitration are a “common feature of consumer financial contacts.” “Common” meaning that over 50% of credit card loans, 81% of prepaid charge cards, and in 44% of checking account agreements for insured deposits have these clauses.
Further, the CFPB found that 90% of these contracts, including almost all credit card loans, insured deposits and prepaid cards, prohibit participation in current or future class-actions in both judicial and arbitration proceedings. The impact is that most consumers don’t even choose to seek redress, even though they may have been harmed.
These types of clauses are common not just in financial contracts, but also in cell phone contracts, nursing home contracts, individual employment contracts, shipping agreements, passenger tickets, and others.
The ramifications are obvious and detrimental to the rights of individual consumers to jury trials.
The full article can be read here.