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How Forced Arbitration in Boilerplate Contracts Strips Away Consumer Rights

Fine print boilerplate is everywhere, but what can be done to stop it? Theresa Amato writes in The Nation that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should take four steps to promote fairness in consumer contracts:

  1. Prohibit forced arbitration clauses in consumer contracts
  2. Maintain a searchable database of all standard form contracts used by the industries it regulates
  3. Develop its own “consumer-road-tested contracts” and prohibit certain terms, such as those that prohibit public criticism of the business involved, or waive liability for negligence.
  4. Promote a “fair contract” symbol to make it easy to identify contracts which conform to the standards proposed.

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Why and How Forced Arbitration Strips Consumers of Their Right to Sue in Court

In the Summer, 2014 issue of Washington Monthly, Lina Kahn wrote about how arbitration clauses are used by America’s corporations big and small to shield themselves from lawsuits. For example, suing Target over its loss of customer data to hackers:

may seem like an archetypical story of our times, combining corporate misconduct, cyber-crime, and high-stakes litigation. But for those who follow the cutting edge of corporate law, a central part of this saga is almost antiquarian: the part where Target must actually face its accusers in court and the public gets to know what went awry and whether justice gets done.

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Home Depot Hacked

September 21, 2014

A major security failure at Home Depot has led to millions of credit card details falling into the hands of hackers. Home Depot says that hackers used custom written malware to attack the store’s registers. However, former Home Depot employees report that, for several years, the company ignored warnings about the potential for just such an attack.Read More »Home Depot Hacked