When individuals or small businesses enter into a transaction to buy goods or services, they are typically asked to sign a binding mandatory arbitration clause. These provisions, typically buried within a purchase or service contract, force individuals into an expensive, secretive, and private system. This private system of arbitration is set up to favor corporations and eliminate the rights of individuals and small businesses to access the courts. Unfortunately, these clauses are achieving their intended purpose—undermining consumer protections for small businesses, and patients and allowing powerful corporations to take advantage of individuals or small businesses with unequal bargaining power and resources.
The use of forced arbitration is a growing practice, here are just a few examples of industries that are using these clauses: