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Watch Out For “Mandatory” Binding Arbitration

2010 September 15
by buddy

The law is an amusing thing. No one knows when early man first started to devise rules for day to day life, but Hammurabi is the 1st law-giver noted by history. This ancient Sumerian king codified the laws governing his realms on stone tablets which were prominently displayed in places of public gathering such as markets so that citizens would know what was expected of them.

It is often assumed by the people that laws should reflect justice and morality, but the record of human society has been one where laws are used to subvert justice. Modern day America is a land that prides itself as being a country under the rule of law, but it boasts the largest prison population in the world. Are Americans just more criminal or could there be an issue with the laws?

Respect for the law is so fixed in American jurisprudence that outright absurdities abound. One could literally sign away one’s rights, so long as it is in a contract! While it’s not yet the case that you could simply give somebody permission to kill you, as with aided suicide and euthanasia, it still is feasible to be mislead into giving away your rights and have the courts back it.

For instance, a notorious practice now common among many auto dealers is to stipulate in a contract a thing by the name of the mandatory binding arbitration agreement. Precise terms can alter, but generally it is meant to let the auto seller pardon himself of any responsibility. Of course, you can hire a lawyer to check the language to reflect your own interests but why not just refuse to do business with any business that doesn’t respect your business enough to try such a trick on you? Some of these mandatory binding arbitration agreements will even strip you of the inherent right to sue, even in cases of fraud, yet subject you to a suit if, for instance, you refuse to pay for a lemon!

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