On July 12th, the Arbitration Fairness Act was introduced to the House and the Senate to amend the Federal Arbitration Act, which was passed in the 1920's. The proposed bill would make clauses in contracts that mandate arbitration and prohibit joining class action lawsuits unenforceable. The bill aims to prevent mandatory arbitration in employment, consumer, franchise, or civil disputes.
Leo Bueno, a Florida debt and consumer attorney highlighted the downsides of such clauses by pointing out that the idea behind arbitration is sound, but that "the mandatory nature of it is offensive...because it takes out the right to sue." Paul Bland, a staff attorney with a D.C. based public-interest law firm, adds that arbitrators who rule against companies too often get blackballed. Bland's comments reveal a harsh reality for consumers, in that companies are typically repeat arbitration customers, and therefore pressure the private arbitration companies to rule in their favor.
Speaking in terms of arbitration legislation, Bland added that "this is, by far, the most comprehensive bill that has been introduced." Proponents of the bill hope to protect Americans' seventh amendment right to a trial by jury.
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Silence of the foreclosures...Arbitration clauses We have spoken before the subcommittee of the judiciary June 12,2007. We have been in Washington Monthly, Mother Jones and People Magazine. Those who are surpose to be consumer protection agencies that turn a blind eye are as guilty as the crooks hiding behind arbitration clauses. My house is on the market again waiting for it's next victim....how can this continue to go unchecked. We need a congressional hearing to stop the war on consumers. A 90% increase in foreclosures has occurred from last May to this May? Hello.... Is there anybody out there that knows this except those who are losing their homes before YOU? If you have an arbitration clause please do not deceive yourself YOU CAN BE NEXT. At least read that is all we ask, get prepared, get you family ready for this national disaster. This catastrophe has already begun. If arbitration is just so wonderful, then why is it forced on us?The first night in our new home, my husband decided to try out his new Jacuzzi tub on the third floor. When he pulled the plug, one hundred gallons of water crashed through our dining room ceiling. This was not one Overlooked plumbing connection, as my husband so desperately wanted to believe. It was a preview of coming attractions. Our builder. They would seal up the windows on the inside so the water wouldn't come in, and then they would seal up the cracks in the outside stucco so the water wouldn't run out. So, the walls just filled up with water and mold.We had the mold tested by an accredited laboratory, and they said they had never seen toxic readings that high in an inhabited dwelling. Prior to this, we had not mentioned the nosebleeds, headaches, the swollen eyes, and the sinus infections because we had seen how people were treated. Their defects were dismissed because the homebuyers were crazy hypochondriacs.Our builder Tremont Homes/Stature Construction Company knew how defective our house was, so they took out some insurance. They added a binding arbitration Clause to our earnest money contract. According to arbitration clauses, any dispute past, present, or future puts the builder in a fail-safe position ... and the homeowner forever in jeopardy. We have lost our right to a trial by jury, our seventh amendment rights that we thought were guaranteed under the constitution; and now many of us are being frightened into giving up our first (freedom of speech). The builders can force us into arbitration by simply calling us disputes, which we most certainly all are. We are supposed to buy and shut up; or after we have signed this consumer-cursed clause, we are in impending danger. Many of us now understand arbitration, and would advise any homeowner to avoid it like the plague. Foreclosure is not as painful, abborrant, or as humiliating as binding arbitration.Arbitration is like a jail sentence: your possessions and money are taken from you; others have complete control over your lives. You are forced in legal handcuffs into a secret kangaroo court held behind closed doors and the rules of law no longer apply. No one will know what happens to you. It will just be your word against the builder.Arbitration is used to victimize and silence what these builders are doing. If you do not complain... or try to get your house repaired, or just let it go into foreclosure... then you can escape arbitration, and you will avoid being raped again. Raped again ...that was what a woman from Milford Ohio called arbitration last week... she is 82 years old. You are guilty until you prove your innocence; the entire burden of proof is on you, the homeowner. Everything you have ever known; it is upside down. The perpetrator has been allowed to file on the victim. This is like sending a small child into a room of sexual predators without supervision. Why would anyone ever chose to go behind closed doors without a clue as to what was going to happen to them... knowing whatever ridiculous decision was rendered... it would not-only be upheld by the court... but there would be no appeal! Most victims of arbitration come out in shock; many are under gag orders, referred to as secrecy agreements so they cannot tell what has been done to them. There are lots and lots of advertisements by the builders in the Houston Chronicle. Strange, how they overlooked the Judiciary Hearing on arbitration clauses - Tuesday, June 12, 2007...where a Houstonian received an invitation to testify before a subcommittee of the United States Congress, on the effects of binding arbitration on the consumer. Read that testimony at Written Testimony Submitted by Jordan Fogal ( LINK ), There are two bills that have been introduced in the House relating to Binding Arbitration and the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA): HR 1443 (Consumer Fairness Act of 2007) and HR 1519 (American Homebuyers Protection Act).The hearing at which Jordan testified, was a preliminary, informative hearing on how Binding Arbitration affects consumers. It may have been a prerequisite to pass these bills. If the sub-committee endorses these bills, they will then go to the House floor for passage, then on to the Senate. We are asking that people who have had adverse experiences with Binding Arbitration to, please submit your complaints via GiveMeBackMyRights - Tell Us Your BMA Horror Stories ( LINK ). Jordan FogalHouston Tx email@example.com
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