We are announcing today that we have reverted back to our prior legal terms, which contain no mention of arbitration.
— 

A statement from General Mills • Walking back a much-criticized policy that would have essentially replaced the consumer’s right to sue the company with an online arbitration process. The move drew much heat after The New York Times wrote an article on the practice last week.

By the way, they’re not the only ones that do this.

5

Property Problems? Construction Disputes? You can get great help with http://stewartpattersonbarrister.co.uk.

Construction disputes plague many building projects across the UK because they are long-term and complex in nature. Large or small, the projects can be impacted by a variety of factors including humans, work conditions, logistics, machinery, Mother Nature, etc., etc.

A recent research report put out by EC Harris (a leading Build Asset consultancy that works with infrastructure professionals and barristers) estimates that the value of such disputes in UK increased to £6.5 million in 2011 (up from £4.6 million in 2010) and the average time required for resolving a single dispute increased to 8.7 months in 2011 (from 6.7 months in 2010).

Construction Dispute Resolution

With my personal experience of performing mediation and arbitration services in such cases, as well as those of a barrister I see that this is certainly very bad news for UK’s construction and engineering industry.

As such it is important to know what causes construction disputes and how they can be resolved before jumping in with both feet. Ultimately disputes are most often resolved through personal negotiation, which is the the easiest process of all.

However when this is unsuccessful action then escalates up to the involvement of qualified independent third parties such as arbitrators, mediators and specialist barristers.

The Sony Network Entertainment has added a controversial change to its Terms of Service and User Agreement for users of the PlayStation Network and the Sony Entertainment Network (Music Unlimited, Video Unlimited). In the revised terms, consumers must waive the right to participate in any class-action lawsuit filed after August 20 against the gaming and content delivery portion of Sony.

If you don’t agree, then your PS3 can’t get online or purchase media content from Sony. Future disputes between consumers and SNE must occur individually in court or through an arbitration procedure.

L’arbitrage en ligne

Online arbitration, cyber-arbitration, cybitration, cyberspace arbitration, virtual arbitration, electronic arbitration, or arbitration using online techniques, arbitrage en ligne, cyberarbitrage, arbitrage électronique, arbitrage à distance, arbitrage sur le net, arbitrage virtuel… Le concept est ‘assez’ ancien: un arbitrage qui ne nécessite pas de réunions physiques avec la présence matérielle des parties et des arbitres au même endroit (relativité du concept ancien: 1997 est ancien dans le cyberspace) Le besoin est évident: 10% des coûts des transactions économiques vont à l’établissement des documents papier. Dans la réalité, l’arbitrage en ligne existe depuis déjà ‘longtemps’ (encore une fois, du cyberspace). Selon une idée reçue, les opérations de commerce électronique doivent faire l’objet d’un règlement électronique de leur litiges. Est-ce bien vrai?

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Imagine for an instant, that you had to operate in both your social life and business life as though you had no State courts to resort to in the event that someone caused you a harm or failed to abide by their contractual agreements. You would not be able to employ coercive third party enforcement measures. Two countervailing tendencies would come into operation. First of all, you would be very careful with whom you had dealings. You would only want to interact with those who had a first-rate reputation and an honorable record of fulfilling their promises in all circumstances. Your second inclination would be to guard your own reputation to the utmost. “Individuals would strive always to act properly and with the highest integrity, knowing that any blemish on their reputation would virtually bar them from participating in any future business ventures.”
—  Carl Watner, Stateless, Not Lawless
L’arbitrage en ligne

Online arbitration, cyber-arbitration, cybitration, cyberspace arbitration, virtual arbitration, electronic arbitration, or arbitration using online techniques, arbitrage en ligne, cyberarbitrage, arbitrage électronique, arbitrage à distance, arbitrage sur le net, arbitrage virtuel… Le concept est ‘assez’ ancien: un arbitrage qui ne nécessite pas de réunions physiques avec la présence matérielle des parties et des arbitres au même endroit (relativité du concept ancien: 1997 est ancien dans le cyberspace) Le besoin est évident: 10% des coûts des transactions économiques vont à l’établissement des documents papier. Dans la réalité, l’arbitrage en ligne existe depuis déjà ‘longtemps’ (encore une fois, du cyberspace). Selon une idée reçue, les opérations de commerce électronique doivent faire l’objet d’un règlement électronique de leur litiges. Est-ce bien vrai?

Amplify’d from www.tunisie-presse.com

 

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"Consumers who sign credit card agreements that feature an arbitration clause cannot dispute fees or charges in court, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The 8-to-1 decision drew immediate fire from consumer advocates."

….

"Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, says the ruling gives companies that provide credit cards, student loans and car loans the ability to exact any fee, because consumers have no legal recourse."

…..

Lauren Saunders, the managing attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, says the arbitration process itself is unfair because the arbitrators have a financial incentive to rule against consumers.

"Who are you going to favor, the company that might send you more business, or the consumer who you’ll never see again?""

It saddens us to ask, is the system really that broken? and really that corrupt?

The order, called Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, does two things. It requires companies bidding for federal contracts worth more than $500,000 to make previous violations of labor law public, if they have any to report. That’s a shaming device that the administration hopes will push companies to settle back wage claims and nudge them toward better behavior in the future.

The second part of the order is what Bland is so excited about. This provision says that companies with federal contracts worth more than $1 million can no longer force their employees out of court, and into arbitration, to settle accusations of workplace discrimination. “Here’s why this is so important,” Bland said when I asked him to explain. “For the last 20 years, the Supreme Court has been encouraging employers to force their workers into a system of arbitration that has been badly rigged against the workers. And so this order will result in millions of employees having their rights restored to them.”

Arbitration is a private mechanism for dispute resolution. If both parties freely choose to use it rather than going to court, then it can be perfectly legitimate as well as cheaper and faster. The problem is that companies increasingly sneak mandatory arbitration clauses into the fine print of contracts with employees and consumers. Deep into the deal you sign when you take a job, or get a loan, or buy a product, is language in which you agree that you’ll settle any related dispute through a private arbitrator rather than before a judge.

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