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For the last couple of years, the Minnesota legislature has been asked to look at expanding the use of mandatory arbitration. The bill has fortunately seen only defeat, primarily because it reduces the consumers to a remedy.

  • Companies control the arbitration panels or at least use them enough to create a strong relationship.
  • The consumer is not allowed to sue the case out and be heard by a jury.
  • In some cases the consumer is prevented from having legal representation.
  • Companies can use the process to quickly and cheaply obtain judgments against the consumer.

The rules are imposed by non-negotiable consumer contracts, billing inserts, employee handbooks, health insurance plans, dealership and franchise agreements. It is simply imposed on the buyer without any true negotiation or bargaining.

If you have questions about these contracts, the Congress Watch division of Public Citizen has a very good website to get information. It’s an important constitutional right that if being stomped on, when these alternatives are forced on the consumer. You can sign up for Arbitration Fairness updates here.

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