What You Are Agreeing To When You Don't Read The Fine Print

What You Are Agreeing To When You Don't Read The Fine Print

Consumer:  “I received my monthly statement and noticed I was charged a $50.00 fee for a credit increase that I requested last month.”

Creditor:  “Yes, This is a one-time fee that is applied when our customers are approved for a credit increase.”

Something like this has probably happened to you.  You might have even thought about suing.  But the chances are you have no case because of an arbitration clause thrown in  the contract you agreed to.

Chances are many of us may have signed a contract containing an arbitration clause without even knowing it.  The sneaky fine print thrown into a contract to prevent you from having the ability to file a class action lawsuit against any given company that you may have complaint.  Instead you have to resolve any complaint individually through arbitration.  Sure you can sue for that $50 you were screwed out of, but it will cost you thousands to do so and you won't be reimbursed for those costs.

Consumers have been experiencing more and more frustration when it comes to breaking down the fine print in a contract.  Take for example a credit card agreement, which may include: the introductory APR, the APR after the introductory period ends, the card’s annual fee, the late payment fee, balance transfer fee, cash advance fee and so on.  It seems the same is true when it comes to applying for internet service, cell phone, or car rentals to name a few.  These are some examples of agreeing to private arbitration in today’s world when dealing with corporate giants.

A lot of people say that only lawyers make money off of class action suits and for the most part this is true.  That said, those lawsuits do put some money in to the pockets of people who have been wronged, but more importantly they stop the bad behavior from happening again.  So individuals don't make a ton, but usually get back what they've lost.  The alternative is getting nothing at all and these big companies being allowed to continue on with stealing because they know almost nobody will bring an individual arbitration case out of principle.  And of course if your own case is worth enough on its own, you can always opt of the class action and bring your own case.

It’s hard enough in today’s society to trust after feeling we are constantly being taken advantage of, in spite of that to suffer the consequences of corporate giants who do not want to accept accountability for the hands down fraud and wrongdoing that they are inflicting on America’s working class families.  The hidden clauses are downright unfair, and seem just one more way for the rich to stay rich and the poor to stay poor.

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  • You should read Elizabeth Warren's book, "This Fight is Our Fight"

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