In a significant decision from the West Virginia Supreme Court, it held that the form contract that U-Haul used did not show that the customer had consented to forced arbitration.
The U-Haul contract has some fine print that says that the consumers acknowledge receiving terms and conditions in an Addendum to the contract. But the consumers don’t actually receive the Addendum until after they’ve signed all the papers, and the contract is finished. Buried in the fine print inside a pamphlet that is folded into a bunch of sections and shaped like a narrow folder is a mandatory arbitration clause. The conspicuous and main part of the Addendum pamphlet is devoted to how one returns the equipment she has rented.
The Court held that the arbitration clause in the Addendum was not agreed to by U-Haul’s consumers. For a good description of the case, read Paul Bland’s blog post here: http://publicjustice.net/blog/what-does-consent-arbitration-actually-mean.