U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state law that banned consumer rights violations.
Many credit card issuers, banks and cell phone companies routinely include in the "small print" of their contracts a clause that requires customers to individually contest any dispute through arbitration--often at a remote location and under the auspices of an arbitrator selected by the contract-writing corporation. Consumer interests have routinely fought these adhesion contracts by demonstrating that they deprive individual customers of the ability to actually have a fair hearing with regard to disputed billings or practices. The California legislature had adopted a law which held this type of provision "unconscionable" and therefore unenforeceable as a matter of law. Consumers in California were free to exercise normal civil rights, individually or as a class action, in the event of a dispute.This week the conservative, activist majority of the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the California law and held that states may not provide this form of consumer protection to their citizens. The case is A T & T Mbility LLC v. Concepcion, and Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion.