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The Courts Your Rights Online

New eBay EULA Prohibits Class Action Lawsuits 234

First time accepted submitter dangthill writes "On August 21, eBay updated its end-user agreement by adding a binding arbritration clause. By accepting the new agreement, users forfeit their right to join class action lawsuits and instead must submit to arbitration. However, users may opt-out by mailing eBay a signed notice. eBay joins Microsoft, Sony, Electronic Arts, Valve and other companies attempting to prevent class actions after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled such tactics valid."
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New eBay EULA Prohibits Class Action Lawsuits

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:53AM (#41095591) Journal

    Does anybody else remember when kangaroo courts were something we associated with the commies?

  • Plague (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:56AM (#41095661)

    I imagine it's already appearing on many more transitory agreements. Corporations now have an out, thanks to Scalia and his buddies, that protects them from the possibility that they'll ever get hit with a lawsuit big enough to actually threaten them. It puts each and every person that they fuck over out on their own and arbitration biases everything in their favor.

    I await the inclusion of anti-class action language in virtually all individual-facing contracts. It's virtually guaranteed to happen as there's no downside whatsoever for the corporations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:00AM (#41095723)

    No, but they risk nothing adding it everywhere. At best its an effective protection for company, at worst its just unenforceable and ignored. Only negative aspect is bad press in the internet, but since many other major players already did it, it will be pretty minor (and quickly forgotten).

  • by AF_Cheddar_Head ( 1186601 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:02AM (#41095743)

    You might be right about only the lawyers winning but the consumer has already lost if it gets to class action. In a system with forced arbitration the Corporation never loses and never has an incentive to fix a problem, at least with a class-action suit the corporation stands some small chance of losing and may attempt to fix the problem.

  • by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:05AM (#41095811)
    Yes, because punishing a company for business practices that provoked 1,000,000 people to require legal recourse is something we never want to do. Also, I don't know which is worse, your spelling or the fact that you pay $50/person for lunch.
  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:09AM (#41095879) Homepage Journal

    Yes, but part of the point is the scummy company loses. Sometimes tort law isn't about recouping losses, but preventing unethical behavior in the first place. Frequently the classes of wronged people don't suffer much, but LOTS of people suffer. To me, it seems like a valid course for redress of grievances, and you shouldn't be legally allowed to sign away your rights.

  • Re:Plague (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:10AM (#41095903)
    Do you have any evidence that arbitration actually biases it in their favor? The Federal Arbitration Act specifically states that for the arbitration to prevent entering court, it must be fair: at least as fair as going to court would be. In other words, if it actually is biased for the companies, they could be sued over that for violating the law. In other words, you can only have an arbitration clause in the first place if it is actually fair (IANAL, of course).
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:25AM (#41096165) Journal

    1. Congress, and the US, have an interest in not clogging courts.

    The whole point of not clogging courts is so that people can have access to them. If you deny them access outright, what's the point of having a court system?

    If you have an issue with the law, talk to your Congresscritter.

    When money speaks louder than words, what good is that going to do? Why would my congressman piss off his numerous corporate donors and represent me instead?

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:28AM (#41096211) Homepage

    If you get $100 bucks you're lucky, my impression is that most are much lower. But as far as I understand, that's sort of the point of class action. Each person hasn't been harmed much and doesn't deserve a huge award, but if the company scams 1000000 people for $100 each they make a cool $100 million so the point is to punish the corporation. The problems are twofold:

    1) The class action lawyers don't act in their clients' best interest. They want to rack up as huge a legal bill as they possibly can, knowing each client is again too small to complain about it since s/he's 1/1000000th of their case. Either by spending time in court or more commonly by settling in a way that's favorable to the lawyers and unfavorable to everyone else. Class actions should be done on commission, if you want to get paid more you have to settle for more. That'd put the incentive back in the right place trying to extract as much money as possible for your clients.
    2) Extremely often the settlement doesn't actually involve cash, in involves a voucher or a discount for your next purchase even if you don't ever want to do business with them again. Not to mention people often never get around to spending them because they can't find anything they want to buy - even with the discount and it is forgotten or lost. Particularly for software the value is simply the sales value, it costs them nothing to churn out more copies. This could also be solved by requiring the payout be in cold hard cash.

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:39AM (#41096419)

    Absolutely. As a seller you should get your money out of paypal immediately by transferging it to your bank. ALSO when you are a buyer, always use a credit card because sometimes a seller will rip you off, and Paypal gives you a worthless answer like, "We decided to refund your money, but were unable to recover funds." At that point you would normally be screwed, but if you paid with a credit card you can file a chargeback.

    To date I have only lost money once (back in 2001) but now that I use a credit card for everything they protect me from dishonest sellers where Paypal does not. (Unfortunately I've lost hundreds due to dishonest buyers. These scam artists have all kinds of methods to pay.... and then reverse payment, to ripoff ebay sellers. THAT'S why I think buyers deserve negative feedback.)

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @12:01PM (#41096787) Homepage Journal

    is a freaking fat joke.

    Not quite - jokes are funny.

    This sort of shit is anything but.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.