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Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
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Arbitration Latest News
Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law Binding Arbitration Hearing
Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Consumer Advocates Push for Forced Arbitration Ban
On Monday, one day before a congressional hearing on forced arbitration scheduled for today, Public Citizen released a report alleging that the practice is pervasive in banking, home construction, cable companies and automotive sales, leaving consumers with no choice but to sign these agreements to conduct necessary activities of everyday life.

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AP Wire: Tom Hanks, wife Rita Wilson not protected from Money Pit and Binding Arbitration
Saturday, 22 August 2009

WARRENTY, WHAT WARRANTY: Money Pit? Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson take battle with upscale contractor to Idaho Supreme Court
The latest act in a nine-year battle between Tom Hanks, his wife Rita Wilson and a high-end contractor played out before the Idaho Supreme Court on Friday. The case revolves around the couple's sprawling Sun Valley-area home, built by Storey Construction starting in 2000. Hanks and Wilson say the company's shoddy workmanship left them out more than $2 million. The company, meanwhile, contends the couple is just out for revenge because they lost an earlier arbitration over the work.

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Abusive Binding Arbitration on a Slippery Slope
Thursday, 20 August 2009

Credit Card Companies Continue To Be Protected From Lawsuits
Starting Thursday, credit card consumers will receive new protections against unscrupulous credit card practices... As these new guidelines are meant to offer protections for consumers, an important protection will still be unavailable – the right to take your credit card company to court... On an uninhabitable $369,000 home, the Fogels won $40,000, but most of the money went back to the home builder because the arbitrator determined the Fogels violated contracts. Arbitration left the Fogels with a $10,000 reward. Recent actions are showing that some businesses and the government are looking differently at arbitration. A Congressional proposal, backed by President Obama, would prohibit mandatory arbitration for bank and credit card consumers, which would instate consumers’ right to the courts. Consumer advocates want the proposal expanded to all sectors of the economy – homes, cars, cell phones, nursing homes, and the workplace.

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Arbitration Fairness NOW - Press Release "Consumers state Loud and Clear that Claues Deny Justice
Sunday, 16 August 2009

Coalition Encouraged by Bank of America's Decision to Stop Using Forced Arbitration; Now Congress Must Act   
Consumers have stated loud and clear that forced arbitration clauses are a denial of justice, and Bank of America finally listened.  Bank of America, however, is just one corporation among the thousands of banks, private employers, nursing homes, auto dealers, and deposit institutions are still using forced arbitration every day to deny consumers and employees a fair shake.               

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Banking Binding Arbitration in a Death Spiral
Sunday, 16 August 2009

Bank of America Ends Arbitration Practice
The move, which comes amid a shakeout in the use of mandatory arbitration by big U.S. banks, means consumers will now be permitted to file lawsuits against Bank of America to resolve such disputes. Last month, two major organizations that preside over mandatory arbitrations said that they were pulling back from the business of using the process for collection matters......"We think arbitration is a very fair way to resolve the issue. A lot of our customers did not feel the same way, so we decided to make a change," said a Bank of America spokeswoman.

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Consumer Victory: Arbitration System Collapsing
Friday, 24 July 2009

Credit card binding arbitration system crumbling
Two more supporting beams have crumbled and now, with astonishing speed, the entire edifice of the mandatory credit card arbitration system is collapsing. A second major arbitration firm -- the American Arbitration Association -- said Tuesday that it has suspended all consumer arbitration activities. And JPMorgan Chase, one of the nation's largest credit card issuers, announced Wednesday that it would stop filing such claims against consumers. These moves came just days after a forced and full retreat staged by the National Arbitration Forum, the nation's largest credit card arbitration firm. It surrendered in response to pending action in Congress and several lawsuits, including a sharply worded action filed last week by Minnesota's attorney general.  See Related FOX Report: Credit Card Arbitration Facing Charges -  See NPR Report

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BusinessWeek: National Arbitration Forum Out of Binding Arbitration Business - AAA May be Next
Monday, 20 July 2009

Big Arbitration Firm Pulls Out of Credit Card Business
After coming under increasing fire for bias towards major credit-card companies, the nation’s largest arbitration firm involved in adjudicating delinquent credit-card debt has agreed to pull out of the business, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson disclosed on Sunday, July 19. The settlement with the National Arbitration Forum comes after the Minnesota AG sued the firm on July 14 for consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, and false advertising. Under the terms of the consent decree, dated July 17 and signed by the AG and NAF officials, the arbitration firm by the end of this week will stop accepting new consumer arbitrations of any sort. The Minnesota suit said that Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Discover Card, and American Express use NAF, which is based in St. Louis Park, Minn.

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Bloomberg: End Arbitration Kangaroo Courts
Thursday, 25 June 2009

Obama Fails to End Kangaroo Courts for Investors
Requests for arbitration hearings are up 85 percent so far this year at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority...Too bad it’s just as likely that the same chumps who fell for Wall Street’s array of misleading products are headed straight into a justice system that will take them for a second ride.  More than half the investors who go through a Wall Street arbitration get nothing at all, and those who do win get about half what they claim to have lost. Once they are in a hearing room, investors typically face a panel of three judges that includes someone from the very industry that got them into the mess in the first place -- Wall Street.

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Arbitration Injustice
Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Pre-Dispute Binding Arbitration Clauses Perpetuate Injustice
When someone is wronged by another, he or she expects to find recourse in our justice system. When a corporation takes advantage of a consumer, that person often takes solace in the fact that she will have her day in court. More and more, however, these hopes and expectations are never realized. Victims are shocked to learn that they have contractually signed away their right to go to court. Pre-dispute mandatory binding arbitration agreements represent a fundamentally unfair method for holding corporations responsible for their wrongdoings. Consumers and employees are kept in the dark as to their rights, and they are not free to bargain for a better deal. Instead, they must "take it or leave it" and run the risk of facing a potentially biased tribunal who will decide the outcome of their case.

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Homebuilder Arbitration Under Fire
Friday, 19 June 2009

Public Citizen says rules tilt playing field toward builders
A national consumer advocacy organization is urging attorneys general in 17 states, including Georgia, to enforce bans on mandatory arbitration clauses often used by the home building industry... One metro Atlantan who agrees with the group is Marietta resident Greg Cole. He says construction problems at his $429,000, 3,400-square-foot house led to cracks, leaks and mold that sickened the whole family. They went to binding arbitration with John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, as the home warranty required, but Cole said the house has not been fixed and continues to deteriorate. His family lives elsewhere.

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NPR: Forced Arbitration - Is Bad For Consumers
Friday, 12 June 2009

Mandatory Binding Arbitration - Forced Arbitration - Is Bad For Consumers And Congress Should Act
This week on National Public Radio (NPR) “All Things Considered” highlights new legislation banning pre-dispute mandatory binding arbitration clauses. A recent article posted on Injury Board is a good resource on the subject of forced arbitration and covers the NPR story: NPR Examines "An Arbitration Culture".

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