Consumers unwittingly sign away constitutionally protected rights when purchasing services from many banks, cable providers and other businesses, Professor Richard Frankel said in an article published in Philly Voice on Feb. 10.
“Everyone has a constitutional right to a trial by jury in a legal dispute,” Frankel said.
Consumers often accept the detailed language in the voluminous agreements without reading them, leaving them without recourse to go to court if they've been wronged, Frankel said.
The author of numerous articles on mandatory arbitration and director of the Appellate Litigation Clinic, Frankel said the U.S. Supreme Court has generally blocked state legislatures and judges from trying to regulate arbitration clauses in consumer agreements.
“When it comes to arbitration, there’s a huge amount of lobbying power on behalf of groups that want a rigorous enforcement of arbitration clauses and waivers of rights to go to court,” Frankel said. “That really makes it difficult to enact change, even when we all realize it’s pretty ridiculous -- that no one is reading anything they’re signing and they’re written in a way to minimize the chance anyone is reading it.”