BBC World News connects passenger being dragged off of United Airlines plane to unequal bargaining power between consumers and corporations in America as a result of forced arbitration clauses

Posted on: April 12th, 2017 by Steve Larson
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On the April 11, 2017, BBC World News Program, the announcer told a reporter for the Atlantic that traditionally in the United States, if a group of consumers were being treated unfairly by a large corporation, it might result in a lawsuit. The announcer questioned why that was not the case here. The reporter for the Atlantic said that class actions have been vitally important in the past in the United States at leveling the playing field when consumers have disputes with large corporations. The reporter noted that an individual consumer would never have the financial wherewithal to get into a legal dispute with a company the size of United Airlines over an individual claim, but if the claim was on behalf of a number of consumers, that would give the consumers more leverage.

However, the reporter noted that recent changes in United States laws have allowed large corporations to include “Forced Arbitration” clauses into the ticket agreements with consumers, which provides protection to the corporations. The “Forced Arbitration” clauses prohibit class actions and require the consumer to submit its dispute on an individual basis to an arbitration panel, which is often more favorable for the corporations.