Friday, December 16, 2016

Congressman Asks Airbnb to Drop Arbitration Clause. PLUS: You're Down to 5 Days To Opt Out Of Uber's New Terms and Conditions

The story linked in Monday's "You Only Have Nine More Days To Opt Out of Uber's Terms and Conditions" is a big deal and a gift to Uber users from Judge Rakoff that should be accepted by everyone.

Here's the latest in the arbitration wars, from The Hill, Dec. 14:

Dem pushes Airbnb to protect users' right to sue
A House Democrat is calling on Airbnb to stop using forced arbitration clauses in its contracts with customers.

Often slipped into the fine print, the clauses force customers to settle disputes through a third-party arbitrator instead of the courts.

“These clauses operate to deprive American consumers of their day in court, so that when companies clearly violate the law consumers are still unable to seek redress in public courts of law,” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), the ranking member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, wrote in a letter to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky on Wednesday.

“The rule of law does not always apply in the forced arbitration process and it also lacks the procedural safeguards and precedential value inherent to civil litigation that is crucial to developing case law applicable to state and federal statutes,” he added.

Johnson also raised the controversy over alleged racial discrimination on the Airbnb platform.
A Harvard University Study found that hosts on the site were discriminating against potential renters based on race, gender and age. Many Airbnb users also shared experiences of discrimination on social media, drawing scrutiny of the company.

Airbnb responded by adopting a nondiscrimination policy.

Johnson praised Airbnb’s initial steps on that front but said that forced arbitration clauses denied justice by not allowing victims of discrimination to bring their claims to court....MORE
Previously on arbitration as a corporate tactic:
Arbitration: Outsourcing Justice
The Pernicious Spread Of Arbitration Stacked Against The Individual (and the class)
As Three More New Economy Companies Are Sued For Employee Misclassification, Uber Thinks It Has the Golden Ticket
With our outro:
...Uber has taken a cue from the securities industry (Shearson v. McMahon, 1987)