The Federal Arbitration Act and Forced Arbitration – Your Consumer Rights Are Affected

The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) is an act of Congress that provides for private dispute resolution through arbitration. Over the years, the rights of consumers to seek legal remedies have been significantly eroded. Some have seen — and many others have not seen the small print language buried in lengthy text — those clauses in cell phone, credit card and other consumer service and goods contracts, requiring that any and all disputes be submitted to an Arbitration process that is weighted heavily in favor of large corporations.

In a recently published book by law professor Imre Szalai, the papers of the three men who drafted and lobbied for the Federal Arbitration Act are examined. In painstaking historical detail, with reference to numerous primary materials, he establishes convincingly that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) was never intended to (a) apply to employment contracts at all; or (b) apply to take-it-or-leave-it contracts. This book is an important development in the historical scholarship on the Act, and demonstrates conclusively that the FAA has been distorted and mis-shaped by the U.S. Supreme Court in recent decades. The Act now covers millions of consumers and transactions that it was never intended to address.

Paul Bland, Senior Attorney at Public Justice in Washington, D.C., has posted a full discussion of this issue, and its effects on your rights, at http://publicjustice.net/blog/important-new-book-proves-federal-arbitration-act-badly-distorted-by-supreme-court.

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