When Small Print Starts a Big Fight

May 23, 2016
 

Verity Winship

University of Illinois College of Law

Do you have a bank account? Credit card? Cell phone?  Internet?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this radio commentary is for you.  Deep in the small print of your service agreement is likely a paragraph that says that any disputes you have with that company must be brought outside of court.  In arbitration.  And these clauses often say that you are on your own – you cannot sue as a group.  A federal agency, the CFPB, proposed a rule in May 2016 that would prevent credit card companies and other financial services from blocking consumer class actions.  Lawyers and politicians and companies are having their say.  But you are also in this fight, whether you knew it or not.  What this fight is really about is the subject of this radio commentary.