John Considine noticed a $10 charge on his Verizon bill he did not authorize – not a lot of money to John and certainly not enough to justify hiring a lawyer over.
But Verizon put similarly questionable charges on 480,000 other customers’ bills. That added up to lots and lots of money for Verizon. (Verizon got caught cheating its customers in a similar scam last year and had to repay more than $90 million.)
Until April, companies that cheated lots of people like John out of a little money each often got caught when their victims banded together, got a lawyer and brought a class action lawsuit. Lawyers were willing to take the cases on a contingency fee. But in the AT&T v Conception case, the US Supreme Court held companies could keep consumer suits out of court and in arbitration where class action cases are banned. As a result, victims of small-dollar frauds are finding it very hard to get lawyers to help them – lawyers will take the cases when the most they can recover is 1/3 of $10. So the big corporate cheaters have effectively stolen their victims’ money and then their lawyers.
“The wisdom of our sages and the blood of our heroes has been devoted to the attainment of trial by jury. It should be the creed of our political faith.”
If you agree with Thomas Jefferson, and think citizens should be able to hold corporations responsible in court when they break the law, take a minute to sign this petition or get involved with Fair Arbitration Now.