Tesla buyers forced to arbitrate disputes

The New York Times reports:

Until last month, a class-action lawsuit by Tesla owners looked as if it would reveal new details about the carmaker’s self-driving technology, which has been blamed for serious accidents and deaths.

But then Tesla deployed a legal strategy that has allowed it to avoid the kind of attention-grabbing lawsuits other carmakers regularly contend with. The company asked a judge to send the case to an arbitrator, who would hear it in private.

Tesla’s gambit is likely to succeed because of a provision in the contracts that the company’s customers agree to when they buy electric cars from the company.

Disputes between buyers and Tesla “will not be decided by a judge or jury but instead by a single arbitrator,” the agreement says. In other words, buyers with grievances must give up their constitutional right to a trial in front of a judge and jury. Instead, their cases must be heard by an arbitrator paid for by Tesla.

The full article is here.

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