Companies forcing their employees and buyers into arbitration to resolve any dispute has become an increasingly big problem for both consumers and employees. It prevents many complaints from ever getting resolved if the arbitration costs more than the complaint, and it prevents plaintiffs from combining many small complaints into one big action against a corporation to justify the costs of pursuing legal action. Arbitration also prevents many individuals from getting a fair hearing when going up against a big corporation hiring an arbitrator who wants to remain on good terms with a client who brings them a lot of business.
One of the most damaging aspects of forced arbitration is that it’s private, which means if someone goes to arbitration over a complaint, even if they win, they are denied from talking about it to anyone else, and there is no process for journalists to report on the case. That means other individuals with similar claims have no way of knowing someone else pursued legal action over the same issue. That, in turn, prevents more claims against the company from ever getting pursued, much less resolved.
But even when employees and individuals are bound by arbitration agreements, there is another way for unethical business practices to gain public attention: the Attorney General.
One such example is the lawsuit the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office filed against almost 20 car dealerships accused of numerous crimes, including double-charging customers, refusing to honor warranties on its vehicles, failing to secure the necessary signatures to make a sale, and failing to reveal accident history. Other allegations listed in the lawsuit include charging customers for certain aftermarket and dealer-installed parts without providing those parts to the customer.
The car dealerships have agreed to settle their lawsuits against the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office for a total of almost $400,000, but that only settles their legal disputes with the Attorney General’s Office. That does not resolve complaints brought by their customers, who are still bound by the arbitration clause they signed with the dealerships. Resolving each dispute individually through arbitration is expected to keep the car dealerships busy for the next three years.
The settlement agreement between the car dealerships and the Attorney General’s Office include provisions for the car dealerships to promise not to sign any more documents on behalf of their customers. The car dealerships have also agreed to stop engaging in what is commonly known as bait-and-switch tactics, in which they lure customers in with the promise of a great car at a low price, then refuse to sell that car unless the intended buyer agrees to a higher price.
Disclosing whether a car had previously been in an accident and in need of repairs was also an important part of at least one of the settlement agreements. So was the promise to stop telling customers that aftermarket parts and features were required when they were not.
If you’re a victim of fraud and deceit, you want attorneys who are on your side. We fight tirelessly for your rights and work on your behalf to get you justice and the compensation you may be due. We’re there for you in, around and even beyond Chicago. From Oakbrook to Northbrook and any city you can name, we claim jurisdiction over claims of fraud and a huge range of business law disputes that may involve litigation. Call us to discuss your legal needs during a FREE consultation. Call 630-333-0333 or via our website by clicking here. We look forward to speaking with you.