The American Arbitration Association has announced it was dropping its arbitration program for consumer debts. This comes only a few days after the National Arbitration Forum announced it was dropping its consumer debt arbitration program. Most of the cases involved credit card and cell phone debts. This is great news for consumers who could not get a fair hearing at AAA or NAF. Both had rigged their procedures in favor of the banks and corporations that paid their fees. Consumers lost 94% of the 214,000 cases processed by NAF in 2006.
When consumers arbitrate disputes, we’ve learned that arbitrators hold enormous power. Arbitration decisions do not have to be based on the law that would apply in a court case. Arbitration can be enormously expensive. And there is seldom any ground for a court to review an arbitration decision, even if it is clearly and demonstrably wrong. For these and other reasons, our law firm rarely handles arbitration claims. We feel that the court system, with its checks and balances and avenues of appeal, is the fairest and best way to handle legal disputes. But, we have just learned that many...