It’s “Buyer Beware” when it comes to Arbitration Clauses in Kentucky!
When buying your next car or truck, read your paperwork very carefully. Some car dealers and financiers are inserting an “Arbitration Clause” in the fine print and it can hurt your legal
rights later. Right now, some Ford Credit, Chrysler Credit and other bank finance contracts include arbitration clauses. Many car dealers are doing it too. Why? It could be because they are worried about what they are doing to you in the sales process.
Arbitration Clauses may take away your right to go to Court without you even knowing it! And if a car dealer does not want you to be able to take them to an open courtroom, you should wonder what it is that they do not want others to find out what they are doing.
To see what other people think about arbitration, read some of the links below to what others are saying.
Why is Binding Arbitration bad?
Arbitration is like playing cards with a stacked deck. The person who is going to decide what the manufacturer or dealer should do for you is usually paid by the manufacturer or dealer – to make that very decision. When their paycheck depends on that repeat business from “big business”, your interests can take a back seat to fairness and a second chair to justice.
When you sign a document with an arbitration clause in it, you are giving up your Constitutional right to take someone to Court when they do something wrong to you, no matter what it is.
Worse yet, all of these private arbitration systems require you to pay filing fees and some arbitration systems even make you pay the other side’s attorney fees if you lose – and that could cost you more than if you were to just file a lawsuit in the first place. Plain and simple, it isn’t right and it isn’t fair to you. Click here to learn more.
What Can You Do?
Read the front and back sides of EVERYTHING carefully. If you see an Arbitration Clause, don’t sign it. Ask the salesperson why it’s there. Better yet, ask them if they are being honest in their dealings with you, then why should they be worried about having to explain themselves to a Judge in a Courtroom? Just having to ask that question should tell you a lot about the honesty of who you are giving your money to. If you don’t get a straight answer, leave. Any car dealer will sell you a car. And plenty of them are not afraid of letting a Judge find out about how they conduct business.
Another way to handle it is to just draw a big, large “X” across the entire arbitration clause. Chances are the dealer will sell you the car anyway. After all, money is still what matters to them. But if the dealer balks and still wants you to sign an arbitration clause, then don’t give in. Protect yourself. Go somewhere else. If they are worried about having to explain themselves to a Judge in a courtroom, then maybe you should be worried about what they are doing and what you don’t know is going on.
What If I Already Signed an Arbitration Agreement?
You may still be able to pursue your legal rights in Court if any of the following exist:
- The rules of the Arbitration process require you to pay a large filing fee just to get a hearing and the court filing fee is less.
- The rules of the Arbitration process let the car dealer pick the arbitrator.
- The rules of the Arbitration process are not disclosed to you in the arbitration document and they don’t tell you where to find them.
- The rules of the Arbitration process do not give you at least the same rights and remedies that you would have in Court.
There may also be other reasons why a car dealer cannot force you to go to their private arbitration process.
Too many times, consumers are told by car dealers that you “must” go to arbitration when that may not be true at all. If a car dealer has told you that, you should be suspicious. Not all arbitration processes comply with the law and not all arbitration process are fair to consumers either.
Arbitration systems are like a private court process – no one knows what is happening, it’s all private and outside supervisors and laws don’t apply to them. The rules of evidence from court proceedings, which were set up to make sure the process was fair for everyone, they don’t apply in private arbitration hearings. The right to appeal a bad decision? That doesn’t exist in most private arbitration processes either. And where it does, you have to go through another private arbitration process to appeal the first arbitration process decision. Sound like a merry-go-round to you? Simply put, arbitration sucks. Consult an attorney to find out what your legal rights are. You probably have more legal rights than you think. But the best way to avoid arbitration is to just say no.
Want More Information?
The Consumer Guide to Mandatory Arbitration Clauses. A thorough explanation from the Citizen Advocacy Center.
Binding Mandatory Arbitration Sucks – Taking Away Big Rights With Small Print. The problems with arbitration and how it rips you off before you even know it happened.
The Arbitration Trap – How Consumers Pay for Low Cost Justice. Consumer Reports exposes the dangers of arbitration and how to protect yourself.
Why is Arbitration Bad for You?. See what the National Consumer Law Center has to say about arbitration.
Auto Dealers and Consumers Agree: Arbitration is Unfair. Read the arguments that car dealers made to Congress about why they should be protected from arbitration in their contracts with car manufacturers. This article shows you why consumer’s arguments against arbitration are just as valid.
Auto Dealers Push to Arbitrate – Buyer Would Give Up Right to Lawsuit. Newspaper article reprinted by TLPJ.