“Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice” was a headline on a groundbreaking New York Times report (10/31/15) from 2015. Reporters Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Robert Gebeloff looked into the fine-print “agreements” that people sign, usually without reading them, as a requirement for obtaining credit card memberships or cellphone contracts or internet service—contracts that tell you that if there is any problem with your account, the company “may elect to resolve any claim by individual arbitration.”
The Times reporters rightfully described those nine words as “the center of a far-reaching power play orchestrated by American corporations.” Because, as they explained and illustrated at length, “inserting individual-arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts” is
a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.
That was vital, critical reporting. Fast forward to today, and another company silently snuck a forced arbitration clause into its terms of service—and that company is the New York Times….