In more modern times, arbitration has been used between consumers and companies to settle disputes over everything from televisions and cell phones to employer/employee differences. Such arbitration has prevented costly lawsuits and avoided tying up the court system while providing a service to many Americans.
However, HR 1020, the Arbitration Fairness Act, would nullify arbitration agreements which exist in potentially millions of consumer, employment, and franchise contracts leaving little recourse than to hire a lawyer and go to court. For many, the sheer expense would not be worth it, leaving them with no option other than to forgo seeking settlement.
A recent study by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) revealed that "98 percent of cases complied with the AAA's consumer 'due process' protocol; and, 'claims were resolved much more quickly -- in seven months, as opposed to two years or more for a civil lawsuit.' The study also found that 'consumers prevailed in 53.3% of the cases filed, recovering an average of $19,255.' "
Fair minded Americans can only conclude that the 'so-called' Arbitration Fairness Act is yet another example of the U.S. Congress - in response to powerful special interest group supporters - attempting to "fix" a system that isn't broken; and, in the process, willfully dumping tens of thousands of cases into our court system and discouraging consumers with small claims from seeking redress.The pursuit of the "Arbitration Fairness Act" reminds me of Congress going after the "Fairness Doctrine" that wants to shut down conservative talk radio. Leave well enough alone. Tell Congress "no"!
What can you do? Contact U.S. Senators Webb and Warner and tell them you do not agree with HR 1020.
Sen. Jim Webb - Washington, D.C.
Toll Free Number: 1-866-507-1570
Sen. Mark Warner - Washington, D.C.