July 30, 2015 Articles

Opting In or Opting Out: Report on Consumer Arbitration Clauses

By Gary C. Norman

I am somewhere between a Luddite and a techie, finding prudence in patience when it comes to technology purchases. But since purchasing an iPhone one year ago, which has text-to-speech capabilities, I find myself wanting to obtain the next version of the so-called smartphone. The iPhone has various adaptive features, such as reading the many text-based missives I transmit out loud, not to mention paperwork involved in financial transactions. When I acquire that upgrade, I will do well to read the agreement paperwork.

How many of us, even lawyers, closely review an agreement when purchasing the latest iPhone? And yet, is that not perhaps the height of folly? Imagine this as compounded by being a lay citizen who has not sat, if painfully, through contract law and who has learned glibly about the array of doors to the courthouse, including alternative dispute resolution.

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