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Businesses The Courts

Amazon Payment Adds "No Class Action" Language To Terms of Service 147

Posted by timothy
from the you've-been-served dept.
wbr1 writes "I just received an email from Amazon Payments, the Amazon competitor to PayPal, stating among other things, that they were changing and simplifying their policies. It should be no surprise then, that similar to what PayPal and many others have already done, they have added language removing the right to class action lawsuits. See specifically section 11.3 (edited for brevity): '1.3 Disputes. Any dispute or claim relating in any way to your visit to the Site or Seller Central or to products or services sold or distributed by us or through the Site or Seller Central (including without limitation the Service) will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court, except that you may assert claims in small claims court if your claims qualify. The Federal Arbitration Act and federal arbitration law apply to this agreement... ... You and we each agree that any dispute resolution proceedings will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class, consolidated, or representative action. If for any reason a claim proceeds in court rather than in arbitration you and we each waive any right to a jury trial. You and we also both agree that you or we may bring suit in court to enjoin infringement or other misuse of intellectual property rights.' This is becoming more and more common, and while the end user normally doesn't make out well in a class-action suit, large settlements do provide a punishment and deterrent to corporations that abuse their power. The question becomes, what do we do to fix this so that consumers are truly protected?"
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Amazon Payment Adds "No Class Action" Language To Terms of Service

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  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:15PM (#41995829) Journal
    I've received several class action post-cards or emails over the past several years. They always go in the trash (real or virtual). Most of them are for some imagined offense that a company has committed, and amount to little more than a shakedown by some law firm trying to make a quick buck. I'm sure there are legitimate class actions, I've just never seen any that have benefitted me.
  • Re:Why use paypal? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:17PM (#41995849)

    Accepting credit cards is difficult. Accepting Paypal (or Amazon payments) is very easy.

  • No Class Action (Score:5, Informative)

    by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:18PM (#41995877)

    The question becomes, what do we do to fix this so that consumers are truly protected?"

    Congresss needs to step in and clarify. Either just git rid of the class action (and replace it with what?) or confirm that all consumers have a class action right, no matter the language of the contract.

    Even more far out, would be arbitration reform. Instead of arbitrators being hired by the companies that have a stake in the outcome, make the companies pay into a pool for each instance of arbitration they are called to. The arbitrator for a specific dispute would be pulled randomly from a pool of trained arbitrators. The could be industry specific pools, or just train the arbitrators in contract law. Of course if I were such an arbitrator, I'd throw out any contract over N pages. (Unless both parties had actual input into the contract)

  • Re:Easy.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by compro01 (777531) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:51PM (#41996281)

    Whether a binding arbitration clause is valid depends on the province's consumer protection laws.

    No-class-action clauses have been found invalid in BC and Ontario, in the cases Seidel v. Telus Communications and Griffin v. Dell Canada respectively.

    I don't believe there have been cases on this regarding any other provinces' laws.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:59PM (#41996347)

    Don't shop there.

    Which will hold for only so long, corporations are going to be applying this to everything. Eventually you will be unable to buy from anywhere or use anything without being forced to give up your rights to the courts.

  • by meflo (1546007) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:12PM (#41996489)
    Usually the contracts have clause stating that a void clause doesn't make the whole contract void.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:37PM (#41996689)

    Yet another example of how the Constitution needs a bit of rewriting to deal with the problems of the day.

    You seriously want our current politicians... democrat or republican... to do a bit of "rewriting" of the constitution? You're fucking nutz.

  • by cmattdetzel (1067146) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:53PM (#41996803)
    Here's a great law review article [uoregon.edu] written by Jean Sternlight of UNLV's Boyd School of Law discussing the impact of the recent case--AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011)--that paved the way for companies like Paypal and Amazon to impose arbitral class action waivers in their consumer contracts.

    As others may have pointed out, the most effective (and direct) remedial measure here would involve amendment by Congress of the Federal Arbitration Act. Partisanship and regulatory capture by big business may render this option unworkable for now. In that case, changing the composition of the high court justices, coupled with nationwide reports of the deleterious effects of the Concepcion decision, could allow for SCOTUS to agree to hear a similar case in which Concepcion's holding could be narrowed or abrogated.
  • by Spril (524430) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:07PM (#41996919) Homepage

    No longer true. I (among many) received payment exceeding $1,000 this year from a Honda class action lawsuit, in which air conditioner compressors died at astonishingly high rates.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:44PM (#41997219)

    (IANAL). The UK uses the English rule loser-pays costs system. Thus, if you're sure that you're going to win, you don't need to worry too much about attorneys' fees. If you have a case that will clearly result in a judgement of £10,000 and will cost £50,000 per side to litigate, then the defendant is going to end up out £110,000, and you'll end up getting £10,000.

    The US, unlike almost every other country in the world, uses the American rule, where each party pays their own attorneys' fees regardless of outcome. Thus, if you have a case that will clearly result in a judgement of $10,000 and will cost $50,000 per side to litigate, the defendant will end up paying $60,000, but you'll end up losing $40,000. To make matters more difficult, this means that a defendant under threat of numerous small suits can intentionally make the litigation as expensive as possible for both sides: while it makes it more expensive for them, it makes it so that the plaintiffs will end up losing money on the case even if successful.

    Small claims can help somewhat, as it doesn't allow attorneys, but even so, there are costs involved for the plaintiff. Thus, if a company cheats a few hundred thousand people out of $50 each, none of those people have any recourse in the courts that won't cost them much more than they'll gain.

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