LA Times’ David Lazarus: AT&T’s new arbitration clause isn’t doing you any favors

Here.  It might be behind a paywall, but you can find it on Lexis. I enjoyed and recommend the whole column, but here's an excerpt:

Jim Kimberly, an AT&T spokesman, told me that "arbitration is a faster, less expensive, easier means of resolving disputes."

* * *

For businesses, arbitration is indeed faster, cheaper and easier than dealing with complex, potentially costly lawsuits, particularly class actions involving numerous plaintiffs.

For consumers, don't be fooled.

A 2015 study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that "arbitration clauses restrict consumer relief in disputes with financial companies by limiting class actions that provide millions of dollars in redress each year."

* * *

Study after study has shown that arbitration clauses work against consumer interests. * * *

Researchers at Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin analyzed almost 9,000 arbitration cases. They found that companies routinely select arbitrators with track records of making industry-friendly decisions.

They also found that arbitrators know that the more they rule in favor of businesses, the greater the likelihood they'll be tapped for future cases — and future paychecks.

"A company will use the same arbitrator over and over and over again," said Remington Gregg, an attorney with the advocacy group Public Citizen. "Arbitrators know how their bread is buttered."

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