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Why Comcast, AT&T Want Arbitration
New report finds outfits almost always rule against you...
by Karl Bode 09:44AM Friday Sep 28 2007
As we've recently mentioned, both AT&T and Comcast were slapped down by the courts for trying to include language in your terms of service that would limit your legal rights. Both companies tried to force consumers to take place in arbitration instead of having their grievances heard in a court of law.

Why? Obviously the arbitration companies are going to be more loyal to their clients than to you, but a new report by Public Citizen shows just how loyal they are. The report shows that one arbitration outfit frequently used by credit card companies ruled in favor of its corporate clients 95% of the time, if not more:
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The report focuses on the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), the go-to arbitration forum for the credit card industry and a major player in the California arbitration business. Between Jan. 1, 2003, and March 31, 2007, arbitrators working for the Minneapolis-based NAF ruled for businesses in 95 percent of the California cases examined. In fact, 90 percent of the NAF cases were handled by just 28 arbitrators, who awarded businesses $185 million. One arbitrator handled 68 cases in a single day – an average of one every seven minutes, assuming an eight-hour day – and ruled for the business in every case, awarding 100 percent of the money requested.
Of course, that's not what the National Arbitration Forum website tells consumers who are trying to understand the process. The site soothes consumers by noting that "a 2003 American Bar Association study of employment arbitration found that claimants prevailed more often and received larger awards in arbitration than in litigation." Sure thing. The complete report can be found here (pdf).

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