I have found that it is usually not a good thing when a large company providing a costly service suddenly decides to change the rules, especially when that company feels compelled to tell you about it in a gobbledygook email filled with legalese that sets a 30-day deadline-in-writing for your “opting out” of the agreement. I may be old fashioned, but giving up ones’ constitutional right to a trial by jury for any reason is more than just a little bit problematic.
Guess what??!! We recently made changes to your Residential Customer Agreement with [TV/Cable/Satellite Provider]. One of the changes adds an arbitration provision that requires you to use either arbitration or small claims court, not a jury trial, to resolve any legal disputes with [TV/Cable/Satellite Provider]. You may opt out of this arbitration provision by providing written notice to [TV/Cable/Satellite Provider] within 30 days.
More than likely, you have already received something similar to this, and — if you are anything like me — scratched your head and thought something like, “What the hell is THIS?”
I’ve spent several hours researching this topic. Here are some Google searches that will help you learn more about Arbitration Provisions:
“Arbitration Clauses Pros and Cons”
“Arbitration Pros and Cons”
From my perspective, these arbitration provision agreements seem to favor the service provider; I suspect you will be seeing more of them in the future.