Stacked Deck: A Statistical Analysis of Forced Arbitration
Published: May 31, 2009
"Stacked Deck" is a statistical analysis of outcomes in forced arbitration, also called mandatory arbitration or binding mandatory arbitration, that finds:
- Individual arbitrators have a strong incentive to favor the firms that provide them with repeat business over an individual consumer they may never see again.
- Companies win a favorable ruling in arbitration far more often than consumers.
- Companies involved in the most arbitration cases--and therefore in creating the most business for arbitrators--consistently receive more favorable rulings than firms involved in fewer cases.
Almost all credit card, auto, and small consumer product contracts contain a hidden forced arbitration clause instead of offering consumers their day in court before a jury of their peers.
CRL recommends that borrowers know their rights, opt-out up front of an arbitration clause if possible, and realize that the arbitration clause may not always be binding.