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bw4444

Sneaky Arbitration Agreements

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Having pulled my head out of the sand, I'm organizing all my credit information, credit bills, letters, etc. I just ran across an ARBITRATION AGREEMENT AND CHANGE IN TERMS NOTICE from Chase. The fine-print, fold-out notice came with the September statement. It basically said we can't sue each other but must submit to arbitration. That's all I can make sense of. The agreement would take effect unless I responded by Oct 25. (Too late, now.)

I'm sure I received this new change in terms because my account had fallen behind. I normally ignore all those notices because I get lots of them from banks, utilities, etc. It all seems to read "blah, blah, blah....".

I'm going to rant for a second. These card companies know that there's a sucker born every second. I've been one of them. They count on 99% of their customers not reading or being careful about what they send them. They make so much money off of late fees, overlimit fees, etc. because a huge proportion of their customers are careless and sloppy. You get a notice with checks enclosed saying your credit limit is increased--go take that boat trip, etc. Somewhere along the line, I swallowed the tackle all the way up to the reel. (I never took a pleasure cruise, though.)

This is just to say, READ THE STUFF THEY SEND YOU! If it is a change in terms for your account, you have a right not to accept the change in terms. Of course, this may close your account, but you don't have to accept the new terms just because they sent you a paper. If you are going to dig out from all your debt, you can no longer afford to just throw the credit card bills in a drawer and forget them. You have to open and read everything that comes in.

So, now I am trying to understand this arbitration process I've unwittingly "agreed" to. I feel suckered again.

This brings up a question. Can I send the OC a change in terms with less than one month to respond? For example, can I change the terms to have them delete the account unless they respond within 28 days? (I was not given 30 days.) Or, maybe I can change the terms so that they owe me monthly payments unless they respond. Just a thought.

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Arbitration is used by other Credit Card Company's also.. You are not the only one who received it.. It is not due to how your credit is at this time.. I will try to give you as brief explanation as possible.. Arbitration is used by a Credit Card Company, when a Customer just stops paying their Credit Card Bill, for what ever reason it may be.. If the Customer is unwilling to work with The Company, or Basically just says " I am not going to PAY".. In the Mean time The Credit Card Company looks at your Credit Report and there is a Mortgage with a Lot of Equity, Auto Loans without any Balances, Recreational Vehicles, ect.. and at the same time there are no signs of any financial difficulty. Now what happens is that your account is sent to the arbitration department, who in turn while looking at you credit report, will pull an asset report as well.. at that time , if it is determined that arbitration will be used, Your account will be sent to the Credit Companys attorney's, Who will send you a Letter saying that if you do not pay you account, that The Credit Card Company will take you to Court and attach you Assets in order to get a payment on the account...

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So, by arbitration, they don't mean "let's present our case before a neutral third party and let them decide."???

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As I have said before, arbitration is the biggest single threat to consumers' rights that we face today. Here is what one bright woman did to fight back:

http://www.wallacejordan.com/decisions/Opinions2002/1010897.htm

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Arbitration is also used by the Collection Attorney (and/or original Bank) to bypass the court system. Why? Because the credit card user, for instance, (Defendant) often has a good case which might not hold up in court. The credit card company or bank (Plaintiff) will file a claim in Arbitration Forum to basically confirm that a breach of contract of the original agreement has occurred. The Plaintiff will then often take the case to the court system, and must only prove that the Arbitration was binding , and that it ruled in the Plaintiff's favor. The court will then place an order for the Defendant to honor the decision of the Arbitration Forum. This will open the door for the Plaintiff to place liens against property and freeze bank accounts, etc. The trick is to NOT to let your case go to Arbitration! Studies have shown that the cards are stacked against you in 99% of the cases when the case goes to Arbitration chosen by the Plaintiff. If your case is going to Arbitration as we speak...make sure that your money and property are safe. Search for Asset Protection at yahoo for info on shelters.

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I almost forgot...if you DO receive an amended agreement providing for Binding Arbitration to settle disputes. Make sure to send a Certified Letter declining the amendment.

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To further discuss this...

if a credit card company sends an amendment to the original agreement and in the amendment inserts a binding arbitration clause and also states that you must disagree in writing and if you do disagree then all balances are immediately payable...

would this not be considered duress?

If I owe ten grand I don't realy have much choice in the matter do I?

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I am very much against binding arbitration clauses, it's a way for the greedy corporation to press their thumb upon the unsuspecting consumer.

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The dissent to Rebar v Cook's stated that Williams did not have authority to agree to anything. I hold that Rebar didn't expect Williams to agree to anything, only to forward the information to the appropriate party within the company. does that make sense?

Also, all that crap about unilateral contracts, what does that a**h*** judge think it is when companies alter agreements with consumers?

People like that piss me off...

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The arbitration clause is showing up everywhere. I went to Hollywood video to rent a movie and didn't have my old account card & they didn't have my number. Oh, well. Fill out a new app.

The contract included an arbitration clause. It also asked me for a credit card number and my SSN! I refused and walked out! You want to engage in identity theft--work at Hollywood Video & grab all the essential information off application forms. Sheesh! :mad:

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The only way to fight this is to "vote with your feet". Tell the video store manager you refuse to do business with a company that would attempt to insert such an unfair, one-sided provision in a contract. Tell your friends to do the same. I just did it with a car sale. You should have seen the look on the manager's face when I said yes, I am going to walk after spending several hours test driving, negotiating, etc. I am not going to arbitrate in your chosen forum if I wind up with a lemon!

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Might I suggest searching your states laws to see if binding arbitration is even legal.

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