Facing off against a powerful company in arbitration is like playing a baseball game in which the other team hires and fires the umpires. So it's no wonder that, in consumer disputes, one study found that arbitrators rule for companies over consumers 94 percent of the time.
The Italian Colors ruling is not an isolated event. We are rapidly approaching a time when there is a private set of laws for big corporations, created and enforced by and for themselves and separate from the system that governs the rest of us.
The public at large is finally learning about abuses in the credit card banking industry. Over time, the banks may change their policies. But as a consumer, you must learn your rights, and you must insist that your rights are upheld.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion today. If it rules in favor of AT&T, corporations will be allowed to use forced arbitration clauses as a tool to wipe out class actions.