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A Welcome Change at Change.org

change-dot-org-logoChange.org, a popular Web site activists use to create online petitions, sent an email today updating its subscribers about a change to the site’s terms of service.

The announcement included a welcome change at Change.org: “We removed our arbitration clause, and also provide a means to try to resolve disputes directly.”

That’s right, Change.org – which has long appeared on Public Citizen’s Forced Arbitration Rogues Gallery – has dropped forced arbitration from its terms.

It would be an exaggeration to say the terms are perfect from the perspective of a harmed consumer – they do, for example, still require any litigation to occur in a court of law in San Francisco.

Nevertheless, it’s terrific news that a Web company like Change.org is leading the way to show other companies – such as Starbucks, Charles Schwab and PNC Financial – that respecting consumers’ right to their day in court is not incompatible with doing business.

Let’s hope Change.org’s change also encourages consumers to hold other companies to a higher standard as well.

Rick Claypool is the online director for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

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