Integrated Wisdom

Mandatory Arbitration

Signing away your protection.

Many of the contracts we sign nowadays have a mandatory arbitration clause, and that includes those used for employment, insurance, home-building, car loans and leases, credit cards, retirement and brokerage accounts, and nursing facilities. And that’s just a few of them. In fact, it’s almost impossible to find a product or service that doesn’t require it.


These clauses appear in the very finest of print, and you might not recognize them as such because they go by different names — binding arbitration, just plain arbitration, and my favorite, dispute resolution mechanism. What they imply is that you’re forced to resolve complaints through an arbitrator, who sets up the rules, weighs the facts, and makes the final decision, which is binding. In other words, you waive your right to sue, you can’t fight it out in court in front of a jury, or appeal a decision.

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