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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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:13PM (#41995799)

    That would make them unenforceable. I'd actually say we need to make the people who suggest such options to be prosecuted as attempting to corrupt the influence and sanctity of the courts, but I doubt that'll happen.

    Heck, if the Constitution didn't make it a legal right, they'd probably try to remove that access. Yet another example of how the Constitution needs a bit of rewriting to deal with the problems of the day.

    Not that we'll ever stop every attempt to weasel around it, but we can try to smack down a few.

    Also the first person who mentions Stella Liebeck can suck it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:18PM (#41995865)
    Before everyone jumps to conclusions,
    Class action lawsuits are nice for the law firms that pursue them, but rarely do much for the people that are part of the class.

    I've been involved in several in my life and never saw more than a few bucks.

    As a matter of fact, you usually have to specifically ask to be REMOVED from the class or be assumed to be a part of it. Kind of like being automatically opted-in instead of automatically being opted-out. And after you are opted-in, you lose any right to sue them on your own.
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:22PM (#41995935)

    Exactly. The idea behind a class action is that if a company is wronging a lot of people in a way that's too small to be worth going after by any one person, it can be punished by them as a group. The problem is two-fold. First, they're frequently allowed to pay in goods/services (especially discounts) that will make them money rather than cost them money. Second, they settle for a fraction of the harm they caused, leaving no reason not to do it again. Those two things need to be fixed- the penalty needs to be made cash only, and the minimum penalty applied needs to be the total harm done. Preferably total harm done plus a puntitive fine

  • by jmauro (32523) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:05PM (#41996435)

    According to the Supreme Court in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion [wikipedia.org], the term to ban class actions in a EULA or other non-negotiated agreement is actually valid. As such the term is getting added into every EULA during the re-writing process since the benefits are overwhelming (basically preventing a normal consumer from every suing you for fault since they could never recover enough to make it worth while) and the costs are nothing.

  • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:19PM (#41996561)

    (basically preventing a normal consumer from every suing you for fault since they could never recover enough to make it worth while)

    In the UK, where there isn't really such a thing as a class action, what is done is that the plaintiffs get together, select a case, or a few cases which are good examples of the group and then everybody supports those people to sue. Once they win, the others can point to the first win as evidence in their own cases and so are pretty much guaranteed a cheap win. This means companies are almost forced to settle and certainly end up with huge costs if they don't.

    Why doesn't the same thing work in the US?

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