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Forced Arbitration Clauses Are Everywhere

Wall of Shame Shows More Than 100 Major Companies Force Consumers, Workers Into Private, Rigged Courts That Deny Justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. – From Netflix to Yahoo, from Starbucks to Macy’s and from Disney to Walmart, it’s getting increasingly difficult to earn or spend money without signing away your right to a day in court if you are the victim of a financial rip-off, sexual harassment, discrimination or wage theft. Public Citizen’s Forced Arbitration Wall of Shame lists more than 100 major companies that use arbitration clauses to force customers and workers into a private, rigged court system to resolve legal disputes.

Yet those are just the companies we know about. Forced arbitration clauses are likely far more widespread. So Public Citizen is calling on workers and consumers to blow the whistle on companies that use these odious provisions in their contracts to deny justice and escape accountability for criminal wrongdoing.

Forced arbitration clauses are written into the fine print of lengthy take-it-or-leave-it contracts that most people do not understand and cannot negotiate. They swing the legal balance of power to the corporation – preventing consumers, workers and small businesses from getting the justice they deserve.

“Corporate America is forcing consumers and workers into arbitration with wild abandon. It is now ever-present in society,” said Remington A. Gregg, counsel for civil justice and consumer rights at Public Citizen. “This Wall of Shame is a wake-up call to Congress and the public. The only way to stop this madness is for the public to demand that Congress pass the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, restoring every person’s right to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable for bad deeds. Without congressional action, corporate America will continue to stick a Get Out of Jail Free card into every contract you sign.”

Public Citizen is calling on Congress to pass the FAIR Act, which would ban pre dispute forced arbitration clauses for worker, consumer, civil rights and antitrust disputes. Instead, every person would have the choice to agree to arbitration post-dispute or resolve their dispute in court.