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New eBay EULA Prohibits Class Action Lawsuits

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the what-are-they-the-tsa? dept.

The Courts 234

First time accepted submitter dangthill writes "On August 21, eBay updated its end-user agreement by adding a binding arbritration clause. By accepting the new agreement, users forfeit their right to join class action lawsuits and instead must submit to arbitration. However, users may opt-out by mailing eBay a signed notice. eBay joins Microsoft, Sony, Electronic Arts, Valve and other companies attempting to prevent class actions after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled such tactics valid."

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Ah, the good old days... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41095591)

Does anybody else remember when kangaroo courts were something we associated with the commies?

Re:Ah, the good old days... (1, Informative)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41095789)

1. Congress, and the US, have an interest in not clogging courts. If you have an issue with the law, talk to your Congresscritter.

2. eBay does something it doesn't have to -- lets you opt out.

3. It is also a legitimate concern that businesses may create a business model around lots of low-value but improper charges. Even if every one goes against them in arbitration, their business model may account for that in making it worth it. for the remaining masses of uncontested charges. Again, talk to your congresscritter.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (1)

overmoderated (2703703) | about 2 years ago | (#41095891)

Opt out. Sounds good.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (5, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41095985)

That sounds simple enough (opt out) until you realize that Ebay owns Paypal which was prosecuted by the U.S. DOJ for stealing customer funds.

Under "arbitration" Paypal/ebay had decided that the customers don't deserve to get their money back. Why? Because Paypal was losing money through buyer fraud (credit card chargebacks mostly) and they had a right to take, not just the money lost but ALL the buyers' money, and never return it. They also took money from sellers. (You can read the thousands of stories at paypalsucks.com)

Under the old rules Paypal/ebay was sued under a class-action lawsuit and forced to refund all the money to their customers. Under the new rules of forced arbitration & no lawsuits..... I guess you're out of luck. Paypal/ebay gets to take your money and keep it.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41096107)

>>>forced to refund all the money to their customers.

P.S. Most people including me sued as "Class 3" and got back $80. Class 2 victims received $500. The smallest was Class 1 which were refunded thousands of dollars (equal to the exact-dollar amount paypal had taken from them, plus their legal fees). I'm sorry you think Paypal/ebay is so fucking wonderful that they never deserve to be sued, but their past history shows otherwise. I fully expect them to go right back to their old ways of "suspending" account and keeping all the buyer's (or seller's) money.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41096193)

This is useful information. When I sell things I usually leave the money in there since I will eventually spend it down anyways, but perhaps it is better to transfer it out after each sale and not carry a balance.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (4, Informative)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about 2 years ago | (#41096349)

Never leave money in Paypal's hands. Never. They WILL take it eventually. I always use CC transactions for buying and dump out any seller cash immediately.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096577)

That won't necessarily save you. They can still take money right out of your bank account or right out of your CC because you 'preauthorized' them to do so when you signed up. Barring that, they might just set your Paypal account to the negatives and send you to collections.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41096419)

Absolutely. As a seller you should get your money out of paypal immediately by transferging it to your bank. ALSO when you are a buyer, always use a credit card because sometimes a seller will rip you off, and Paypal gives you a worthless answer like, "We decided to refund your money, but were unable to recover funds." At that point you would normally be screwed, but if you paid with a credit card you can file a chargeback.

To date I have only lost money once (back in 2001) but now that I use a credit card for everything they protect me from dishonest sellers where Paypal does not. (Unfortunately I've lost hundreds due to dishonest buyers. These scam artists have all kinds of methods to pay.... and then reverse payment, to ripoff ebay sellers. THAT'S why I think buyers deserve negative feedback.)

Re:Ah, the good old days... (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 2 years ago | (#41096451)

If ebay/paypal were to begin stealing money again no contract would validate illegal activity. Does agreeing to a EULA that you will not sue imply ebay/paypal can conduct illegal activities, I'm not a lawyer but I doubt it.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41096715)

Define illegal.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (1)

number11 (129686) | about 2 years ago | (#41096809)

If ebay/paypal were to begin stealing money again no contract would validate illegal activity. Does agreeing to a EULA that you will not sue imply ebay/paypal can conduct illegal activities, I'm not a lawyer but I doubt it.

Nah, but if you can't sue, what could you do about it? Convince your local DA to file criminal charges against eBay? Good luck with that.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096341)

No need to opt out, in certain states it's impossible for you to sign away your rights. So look into your current state's laws. In those states even if you sign a EULA that says you won't take any legal action against the corporation, the EULA is void.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41096165)

1. Congress, and the US, have an interest in not clogging courts.

The whole point of not clogging courts is so that people can have access to them. If you deny them access outright, what's the point of having a court system?

If you have an issue with the law, talk to your Congresscritter.

When money speaks louder than words, what good is that going to do? Why would my congressman piss off his numerous corporate donors and represent me instead?

Re:Ah, the good old days... (0)

sapgau (413511) | about 2 years ago | (#41096661)

Mod Up
+1

Re:Ah, the good old days... (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41096201)

I love how we've gotten to the point where the assumption is that doing something "for the good of the business" is always the right thing.

What is wrong is wrong, whether you're doing it behind the shield of "it's only business!" or not.

Re:Ah, the good old days... (1)

sapgau (413511) | about 2 years ago | (#41096625)

Either way if contested will not survive in court.
Contracts are void if found to be illegal.

Commies??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095893)

Does anybody else remember when kangaroo courts were something we associated with the commies?

You are a white American aren't you? Talk to a Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American, or a Jew, they can tell you loads of stories about how non whites and non Christians have gotten shafted in the US in kangaroo trials since before the Revolutionary War. Hell, even catholic whites used to be treated like a lower form of life.

Re:Commies??? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41096125)

Oh, the US has always operated a multi-tier justice system; but we've typically also operated substantial self-congratulatory hypocrisy about it. My intended point is that we seem to be getting to the point where we can't even be bothered to pretend to hold the moral high ground...

Sour Kangaroo (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41096171)

I always associated kangaroo courts with Australians or perhaps Dr. Seuss [wikia.com]

U$A legal system... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095607)

is a freaking fat joke.

Re:U$A legal system... (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41096787)

is a freaking fat joke.

Not quite - jokes are funny.

This sort of shit is anything but.

so? (4, Informative)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 years ago | (#41095613)

Doesn't like every other EULA out there do this as well?

Re:so? (4, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41095791)

Possibly.... but depending on your jurisdiction, EULA's don't have any legally binding power anyways (in particular, an EULA cannot take away any of your rights because you have not signed it such that a copy of the contract and your signature could be reviewed by a third party in the event of a dispute).

Re:so? (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 years ago | (#41095897)

Yea, but still not sure how this is news...
Every other EULA out there, has these same terms.

It'd be like having service suspended for not paying your bill.

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096721)

You may want to read up on the Federal Arbitration Act in the US and it's clauses which allow for the preempting of state law. It's disturbing to say the least...

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096515)

Nope. It's quite unusual and controversial, which is why so many up in arms with Valve new EULA as well. You may be thinking of a disclaimer - quite a different animal.

Real question is will they drop you? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 2 years ago | (#41095629)

That is, if you 'agree', then send a signed notice, will they drop you?

More importantly, can you 'agree', participate in an auction, then drop out and then join a class action suit for the one auction you participated in before you dropped out?

New law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095639)

All you need is a new law where such agreements are declared null and void and that the right to sue, including class action, can never be waived and/or otherwise infringed upon. Good thing there's an election coming up, let's ask them!

Re:New law (2)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#41095697)

that would certainly be nice. The rights granted by any "consumer protection laws" in general should not be waivable. Not just class action suit. Because companies are known to be coercive about trying to force their customers to waive those rights.

Re:New law (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41096235)

Sure. Do you want to pay the $50 mil to the congresscritter or shall I?

Re:New law (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41096803)

I'd happily chip in on that one.

Is ebay only going to work in the USA now? (0)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41095645)

Because last time I checked, SCOTUS doesn't have jurisdiction elsewhere.

Re:Is ebay only going to work in the USA now? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095723)

No, but they risk nothing adding it everywhere. At best its an effective protection for company, at worst its just unenforceable and ignored. Only negative aspect is bad press in the internet, but since many other major players already did it, it will be pretty minor (and quickly forgotten).

Not really true (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#41096443)

If a contract has an invalid clause, it can be ruled to be null and void in in its entirety, this is done PRECISELY to avoid what you said, try crap in your contract to see if you can get away with it and the judge will just award the case to the other side. It rarely goes this far because by that time a lawyer will advise the offending party to settle or risk getting their ass chewed out and usually companies listen.
 

Re:Is ebay only going to work in the USA now? (1)

overmoderated (2703703) | about 2 years ago | (#41095959)

It's SCROTUS really.

Re:Is ebay only going to work in the USA now? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41096239)

Technically the SCOTUS doesn't have jurisdiction in the U.S. either. They rule on *individual* cases not all cases in perpetuity. Just because they made a ruling that "user contracts can block class-action suits" does not mean any of the lower-level judges have to abide by it.

For example I might sue Ebay in the state of Maryland, win a class-wide lawsuit for all state residents, and on appeal by Ebay the Supreme Court of Maryland upholds the lower court's decision..... in direct opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court prior ruling.

Re:Is ebay only going to work in the USA now? (1)

Endovior (2450520) | about 2 years ago | (#41096733)

Do note that this ruling only applies to the law as it stands. Do note that the CPFB has the authority to overturn this ruling (according to the article, at least), and this practice, by adopting a regulation prohibiting mandatory arbitration clauses. In other words, if you are an American, and concerned about this practice, go to consumerfinance.gov and send them your concerns.

Re:Is ebay only going to work in the USA now? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#41096775)

Can folks from other countries join in a US class action? If not, the point is moot.

Plague (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41095661)

I imagine it's already appearing on many more transitory agreements. Corporations now have an out, thanks to Scalia and his buddies, that protects them from the possibility that they'll ever get hit with a lawsuit big enough to actually threaten them. It puts each and every person that they fuck over out on their own and arbitration biases everything in their favor.

I await the inclusion of anti-class action language in virtually all individual-facing contracts. It's virtually guaranteed to happen as there's no downside whatsoever for the corporations.

Re:Plague (4, Interesting)

The Moof (859402) | about 2 years ago | (#41095895)

I await the inclusion of anti-class action language in virtually all individual-facing contracts. It's virtually guaranteed to happen as there's no downside whatsoever for the corporations.

The last time I checked, just about every contract or agreement I enter into has this clause already. This includes companies where I have no alternative due to a government-granted monopoly (my gas company and my electric company have both done this). So much for saying "no thanks" and finding an alternative...

The really sad part is since corporations got away with this, I've actually started seeing companies slipping in waiving your right to any legal action, class action or individual lawsuit. I would say I'm waiting for the day that gets struck down in court, but knowing the current state of things, I'm not optimistic about it going our way (by 'our,' I mean us consumers and citizens).

Re:Plague (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41095977)

The last time I checked, just about every contract or agreement I enter into has this clause already.

And thanks to the Supreme Court, it actually has teeth. That's why every company out there is adding it to their consumer-facing agreements.

Re:Plague (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096231)

I await the inclusion of anti-class action language in virtually all individual-facing contracts. It's virtually guaranteed to happen as there's no downside whatsoever for the corporations.

The last time I checked, just about every contract or agreement I enter into has this clause already. This includes companies where I have no alternative due to a government-granted monopoly (my gas company and my electric company have both done this). So much for saying "no thanks" and finding an alternative...

The really sad part is since corporations got away with this, I've actually started seeing companies slipping in waiving your right to any legal action, class action or individual lawsuit. I would say I'm waiting for the day that gets struck down in court, but knowing the current state of things, I'm not optimistic about it going our way (by 'our,' I mean us consumers and citizens).

So the only gas company you can deal with has a contract that states some thing like "...furthermore the undersigned agrees not to sue Acme Gas in the event Acme equipment malfunctions and blows up the undersigned's house or damages his property in any other way..." Man... if that is true the USA is really screwed up.

Re:Plague (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41095903)

Do you have any evidence that arbitration actually biases it in their favor? The Federal Arbitration Act specifically states that for the arbitration to prevent entering court, it must be fair: at least as fair as going to court would be. In other words, if it actually is biased for the companies, they could be sued over that for violating the law. In other words, you can only have an arbitration clause in the first place if it is actually fair (IANAL, of course).

Re:Plague (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095989)

The point made was: They get to pick the arbiter, and said arbiters prefer to rule in favor of those who will lead to continued work (ie the company being arbitrated against.)

Hence it's basically the equivalent of a judge on the payroll. Sure they MIGHT rule against the big guy, but if so the damages will be so small that it's considered worthwhile in the company's case to provide proof that they're not being biased against the little guy (when it's obvious they are.)

Re:Plague (3, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41096007)

Do you have any evidence that arbitration actually biases it in their favor?

Virtually all of these agreements explicitly specify the company that will handle the arbitration and from the ones that I've seen have the company being challenged paying for it. Thus, it's in the arbitrator's interests to find for the defendant so that they keep coming back. They'll be dropped in a heartbeat if they find for the plaintiff.

if it actually is biased for the companies, they could be sued over that for violating the law.

And you'd have to prove that well enough to get the Federal Government to pursue the case.

difference between theory and practice (4, Informative)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41096145)

the big problem is since the arbitration company is paid for by the company they will automatically be biased in favor of KEEPING THE CONTRACT.

so yes you could in theory sue over the arbitration not being fair but you agreed that the arbitration was BINDING.

Re:difference between theory and practice (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41096647)

And again, the arbitration is legally binding under federal law if and only if it is fair. So an unfair result allows you to sue.

Re:Plague (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41096229)

Sure. [justice.org] I look forward to your telling me how this is invalid evidence, though.

Re:Plague (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41096777)

I look forward to your telling me how this is invalid evidence, though.

Well first of all, the site proudly proclaims it is run by lawyers. As others have noted, lawyers make millions of dollars off of class action lawsuits while the injured parties are lucky to make a few dollars, which makes me inclined to be highly suspicious of anything they claim right off the bat (I'm actually suspicious of anything lawyers claim period: many of them make a living by saying things that are not technically false, but which any reasonable person would call a lie). Oh and

Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of froced arbitration (81 percent) when presented with all the facts.

(emphasis mine, but otherwise sic.) so, you just might want to find a better source. Because honestly, if they can't be bothered to notice such an obvious typo, I'm simply not going to believe them. And language like "all of the facts" is usually code for "the facts as we present them and what we care to present", which is of course usually neither very factual nor very "all".

Re:Plague (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41096245)

This look [citizen.org] at credit-card related MBA doesn't look good. It also isn't a good sign that even the Wall Street Journal [wsj.com] , not exactly known for its The Daily Worker editorial slant, has observed the problem.

So, yeah, the available statistics don't look good, and the structure under which company/consumer arbitration is operated(Company requires many arbitrations/year, gets to select arbiters, results of past arbitrations are obviously available to the company; but typically not available to the consumer, arbiters know that future business can depend on past 'results') it'd be a fucking miracle if any impartiality existed...

Re:Plague (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#41096405)

It is biased towards the corporation by definition. Number 1, the corporation has people on payroll who handle lawsuits and arbitration requests. As a result, an arbitration request is a wash for the corporation, but it still is a huge inconvenience for the individual. Number 2, arbitration is on average much, much cheaper for a corporation than a lawsuit. So cheap that it amounts to change found in the couch. However, arbitration is still a significant cost for all but the top 20% of the population.

So who will take advantage of arbitration? Almost nobody. And the corporation can be safe in its knowledge that it can fuck its customers over $100 at a time, and it will barely cost it a dime.

Re:Plague (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41096627)

The terms specify that eBay will pay the costs of the arbitration (so long as the judgment is under $10,000 dollars) unless it is deemed as frivolous by the arbitrator, so it won't cost the individual a dime in legitimate cases. Also they allow arbitration by telephone for under a certain amount (don't recall the exact figure), so it isn't even a terrible inconvenience.

There is also the fact that if eBay really does start fucking over customers (more than they do already), people will find out and stop using eBay. The Internet is quite good at that.

Re:Plague (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096607)

Do you have any evidence that arbitration actually biases it in their favor? The Federal Arbitration Act specifically states that for the arbitration to prevent entering court, it must be fair: at least as fair as going to court would be. In other words, if it actually is biased for the companies, they could be sued over that for violating the law. In other words, you can only have an arbitration clause in the first place if it is actually fair (IANAL, of course).

I am not a lawyer either but according to a documentary I watched recently that took a close look at mandatory arbitration, US corporations have started inserting these arbitration clauses into their employment contracts. The arbitrator is chosen by the corporation, and by signing the contract the employee waives all right to sue the corporation over accidents, corporate malpractice, negligence or incompetence of any kind and even things like rape and other forms of physical violence and criminal activity. It is absolutely incredible that until recently women could be raped on corporate premises and the whole matter would be handled by corporate security, the victim was not entitled to a trial, only mandatory arbitration by a corporate appointed third party. These corporate appointed arbitrators are heavily motivated to favour the corporation because it is the corporation that chooses the arbitrator, it is the corporation that pays them and the corporation is not no going to keep choosing an arbitrator that finds in favour of employees and awarding them damages and lowering corporate profit margins now is it? Given the choice I'd rather take my chances with the court system, however rotten and flawed it may be. In the courts at least I would stand some chance of getting a semblance of justice.

Re:Plague (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41096739)

I'n pretty sure that if the issue at hand for a possible lawsuit is on account of a threat to public health or safety, then any anti class action lawsuits clauses are not applicable.

What did you expect in the us of a ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095667)

You can't pull this stunt in Europe.
Oh my, how the mighty have fallen. What a joke living in a consumer society that offers no consumer protection.
Go team usa, go go go!

Re:What did you expect in the us of a ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096101)

You can't pull this stunt in Europe.
Oh my, how the mighty have fallen. What a joke living in a consumer society that offers no consumer protection.
Go team usa, go go go!

I agree, private arbitration where the corp. you are dealing with gets to pick the arbitrator is a steaming pile of bull***t. However, it seems all is not lost, if you read the judgement analysis linked to in the summary it says:

Future possibility: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) arguably has the authority to overturn this Supreme Court opinion and adopt a regulation prohibiting mandatory arbitration clauses that prohibit access to class-action arbitration.

Seems to me it is time for Americans to start inundating (their respective congressmen?) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with angry emails.

Re:What did you expect in the us of a ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096197)

Nor in Ontario.

Class Action Everyone looses except for the lawyer (2, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41095675)

Class actions are less about justice but revenge.
If you win a big case you usually get like 100 bucks out of the deal (A lunch for two at a 2 star restaurant). The company need to pay the $100 * 1,000,000 plus legal fee. So they loose a lot of money, the victims let little if any (because they will appeal it over and over or just refuse to pay).
You you loose, the company looses. The only one getting big money are the lawyers, unless you happen to get a movie deal out of it.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (5, Insightful)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | about 2 years ago | (#41095743)

You might be right about only the lawyers winning but the consumer has already lost if it gets to class action. In a system with forced arbitration the Corporation never loses and never has an incentive to fix a problem, at least with a class-action suit the corporation stands some small chance of losing and may attempt to fix the problem.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (3, Insightful)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#41095811)

Yes, because punishing a company for business practices that provoked 1,000,000 people to require legal recourse is something we never want to do. Also, I don't know which is worse, your spelling or the fact that you pay $50/person for lunch.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096339)

pay $50/person for lunch

Try eating at a NICE restaurant. It costs a few bucks, and no Red Lobster is not a nice restaurant.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096705)

From OP:

If you win a big case you usually get like 100 bucks out of the deal (A lunch for two at a 2 star restaurant).

Nice restaurant?

If you're paying $50 per person at a 'two star' restaurant, you're getting raped harder than Akin is raping the election.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095825)

The point is the company shouldn't have so many pissed off customers. A class action levels the playing field, because the govts already rate an anonymous corporation well above living people.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41095827)

Class actions are less about justice but revenge.

I would agree that legal fees, as a percentage of settlement, do tend to be excessively high in class action cases; but some perspective is in order:

Because, as you note, the payoff for individual class members is fairly poor, consider why the class would participate: Because the alternative is nothing.

If all litigation is on an individual basis, simply ensuring that you commit only malfeasance too petty to be worth court costs is de-facto legal; because who would go after you?

Should a greater cut of the class action go to the class members? Sure. Is 'revenge' against malefactors a bad thing? Hell no. We usually call it 'punishment'. That's part of the point. Even if the wronged party gets nothing, raising the expected costs of committing a wrong reduces the odds that a value-rational company will try to pull one. This isn't a difficult concept.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (1)

Eldragon (163969) | about 2 years ago | (#41095833)

"Class actions are less about justice but revenge."

Justice, punishment and revenge are nearly impossible to tell apart.. especially in the US judicial system.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095837)

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that someone who posts "You you loose, the company looses" doesn't understand the point of class actions

Appropriate captcha: ignorant

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41095879)

Yes, but part of the point is the scummy company loses. Sometimes tort law isn't about recouping losses, but preventing unethical behavior in the first place. Frequently the classes of wronged people don't suffer much, but LOTS of people suffer. To me, it seems like a valid course for redress of grievances, and you shouldn't be legally allowed to sign away your rights.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095927)

Class actions are less about justice but revenge.
If you win a big case you usually get like 100 bucks out of the deal (A lunch for two at a 2 star restaurant). The company need to pay the $100 * 1,000,000 plus legal fee. So they loose a lot of money, the victims let little if any (because they will appeal it over and over or just refuse to pay).
You you loose, the company looses. The only one getting big money are the lawyers, unless you happen to get a movie deal out of it.

Yeah yeah, so when the EU commission fines Microsoft for hundreds of milions of $ is it justice or revenge ?
Class actions are a fundamental right in a consumer society. It is one of those checks and balances necessary for keeping corporations "honest". Doing away with class actions is akin to saying to corporations do what the fuck you want. Consumers have no way to fight against you. What an ideal situation.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095949)

Yep. I've gotten numerous notices of being qualified in or part of a class action lawsuit over the years, and I don't bother responding any more because I know I'll never see anything other than a useless coupon or some other crap, meanwhile the lawyers get rich and the customers -- often including myself -- have to pay more to make up for the lawyers' pay day. Generally speaking, the lawyers behind such lawsuits are the same species of scum as the ones behind the TV ads looking for people who've been injured or had side effects.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 years ago | (#41095981)

It is not just about the money. Class action can also be used as a cudgel to change corporate behavior. It is one more weapon against heinous, negligent, and usurous actions.
Sorry we cheated, used, and/or sickened thousands, but nya_nyaa you can't touch us.
If you're not bent over yet, get ready for the rape. Don't worry, thete is plenty of TMZ and Fox News to distract you from the pain.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about 2 years ago | (#41096023)

You you loose, the company looses. The only one getting big money are the lawyers, unless you happen to get a movie deal out of it.

I can understand your point about lawyers, but part of the whole idea of class action suits are to bring an offending company to task.

Without class action, how else can that be done? Individual lawsuits? That has the burden of being able to afford to do such a thing in the first place, and the awards will never be large enough to act as a deterrent. Companies would just pay out and carry on. Prosecution by the state? That doesn't sound entirely appealing either, especially considering how cozy the government gets with large corporations.

It seems to me that removing class action suits just further insulates companies from their actions.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41096061)

So without class action, what exactly is the reason a company won't try this:
1. Overcharge all customers by $30.
2. Refuse to refund the money.
3. If anybody goes to the time and expense of suing them in small claims court, concede and refund the money and the 1 hours' worth of the attorney's time ($300 or so).

This strategy is profitable so long as less than 10% of the customers affected don't go after them. And because it's not in fact worth my time to haggle over a $30 overcharge, chances are I won't. With a class action, somebody else can take the initiative, file the suit on my behalf, and I can get my $30 and the lawyers can get an extra $10 per person on top of that as punative damages. The only real loser in that scenario is the scammer.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096153)

A $100? I've never got more than $4. I just got a check in the mail for 44 cents from a google settlement. Class action lawsuits are a joke.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#41096211)

If you get $100 bucks you're lucky, my impression is that most are much lower. But as far as I understand, that's sort of the point of class action. Each person hasn't been harmed much and doesn't deserve a huge award, but if the company scams 1000000 people for $100 each they make a cool $100 million so the point is to punish the corporation. The problems are twofold:

1) The class action lawyers don't act in their clients' best interest. They want to rack up as huge a legal bill as they possibly can, knowing each client is again too small to complain about it since s/he's 1/1000000th of their case. Either by spending time in court or more commonly by settling in a way that's favorable to the lawyers and unfavorable to everyone else. Class actions should be done on commission, if you want to get paid more you have to settle for more. That'd put the incentive back in the right place trying to extract as much money as possible for your clients.
2) Extremely often the settlement doesn't actually involve cash, in involves a voucher or a discount for your next purchase even if you don't ever want to do business with them again. Not to mention people often never get around to spending them because they can't find anything they want to buy - even with the discount and it is forgotten or lost. Particularly for software the value is simply the sales value, it costs them nothing to churn out more copies. This could also be solved by requiring the payout be in cold hard cash.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (1)

godrik (1287354) | about 2 years ago | (#41096303)

which gives incentives to the company not to do shit that will get them involved.

Re:Class Action Everyone looses except for the law (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41096427)

Class actions are less about justice but revenge.

Punishment is not revenge. The point of class actions is to deter future bad behavior. I don't care if a class action suit makes the lawyer a hundred million dollars and I get nothing. If it stops the behavior in the future it's done its job.

Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095713)

The arbitrator will decide the substance of all claims in accordance with the laws of the State of Utah, including recognized principles of equity, and will honor all claims of privilege recognized by law. The arbitrator shall not be bound by rulings in prior arbitrations involving different eBay users, but is bound by rulings in prior arbitrations involving the same eBay user to the extent required by applicable law. The arbitrator's award shall be final and binding and judgment on the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.

For one, isn't it interesting that the applicable laws are from Utah and not form California where eBay is based?

Also, don't you hate it that these companies can just put up some web page with their terms and conditions but if you want out, you are the one that has to mail a letter?

As far as I'm concerned, I don't see how an eBay user can get a fair shake out of this. All that shit about

Arbitration uses a neutral arbitrator instead of a judge or jury, and court review of an arbitration award is very limited.

just means that eBay will come out ahead no matter what.

Why don't we just cut to the chase and rename the US of A to US of CA - United States of Corporate American.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, for every ridiculous lawsuit against some poor poor mega corporation where they have to pay millions for some bullshit, they're raking in billions fucking over everyone else.

hello (-1, Offtopic)

ncito-M (2714035) | about 2 years ago | (#41095733)

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As it should be (1)

poet (8021) | about 2 years ago | (#41095757)

People complain about this all the time.

Just don't use the site.

eBay? (-1, Redundant)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 2 years ago | (#41095781)

People still use eBay?

Re:eBay? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096059)

Oh look someone who hasnt used ebay in a few years with a snarky remark!

This is going to come as a shock to you. Yes people still use those services. Just like people still use slashdot (which has gone borderline tabloid).

Ok, so don't use them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095795)

It's the only answer guys. Also, if you truly contemplate this idea, you'll better understand the real problem. The real problem is that Americans are not capable of giving up their luxuries, otherwise they'll figure out that it's all they have. America fell asleep in the bath and are now so shriveled up, that to get out of the water hurts. Now they can't sue the waterworks people for their fuck-ups?

On the other hand, their judicial system is so corrupt that to even attempt to explain the horrors that are allowed to go on makes one sound like a paranoid jerk.

Cut to the chase (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095873)

SCOTUS should have just ruled class actions invalid and saved everyone the trouble. If you're going do the bidding of your corporate masters, just do it and get it over with -- like ripping off a band-aid, do it quickly and all at once. Corporations are people, money decides elections, peasants have no legal recourse, etc... Just say it; quit dancing around the fact that this country was bought and paid for years ago.

Inalienable Rights? (1)

beaverdownunder (1822050) | about 2 years ago | (#41095881)

What ever happened to those? Or were they traded away at some point?

Companies can put whatever they like in a EULA. Whether it will actually stand up to scrutiny is another matter.

There's a reason why eBay is allowing people to 'opt-out' -- TBH, if there _was_ a problem, and you sent them a letter threatening to attempt a class-action anyway (and could prove the means to fight it), you'd probably get a personal settlement offer straight away. Nobody's going to want to risk an adverse ruling on a challenge, since it well 'discourages' anyone from 'wasting' money launching a class-action and thus does it's job...

Re:Inalienable Rights? (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41096271)

Class action lawsuits are not an inalienable right. They exist due to rules created by the states and the Federal government.

Re:Inalienable Rights? (1)

godrik (1287354) | about 2 years ago | (#41096329)

There was a good deal on wall street, so we had sold it. Strangely, we can not buy it anymore. Where is the factory that produce those?

Re:Inalienable Rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096541)

The EULA is a contract. You can accept it and do business with them or not, your choice. There are two parties in the contract and neither side can dictate the terms to the other.

Re:Inalienable Rights? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41096673)

What world are you living in? Seriously. Corporations have much more power than the individual and they dictate terms all the time, especially in granted monopolies and in natural monopolies like ebay. And, yes, ebay is a natural monopoly to the extent that it wouldn't even occur to many non-geeks that they have competition.

bizNatch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095937)

Hapless *BSD states that there prima donnas, and of *BSD aswipes are tied up in your replies rather Much organisation,

What about the law? (2)

WromthraX (948475) | about 2 years ago | (#41096033)

AFAIK no EULA or contract is above the law.

i'm glad to live in Québec (Canada) (1)

A little Frenchie (715758) | about 2 years ago | (#41096081)

this kind of clause are void here! we are "protected" from abusive clause. sadly, we are also excluded from many thing because of it :-p

Class action suits =! regular lawsuit (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 2 years ago | (#41096083)

While they can force you into arbitration rather then a class action suit, you still have the right to sue them as an individual, that right has not been taken away.

Of course, the costs involved are high, going up against a corporation with an entire team of lawyers is going to be very expensive, and they would most likely bankrupt an individual before anything ever makes it to trial. I also do not see to many lawyers taking this case on contingency as the potential to win is very very low.

Re:Class action suits =! regular lawsuit (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#41096569)

I suppose you could file an individual suit, but the point seems to be having most disputes settled by arbitration rather than lawsuits.

German Situation (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096091)

Here is the situation for Germans:

As long as you are a CONSUMER, i.e. a private buyer or seller, that clause is invalid, since law requires such an arbritration clause to be settled in an entirely separate contract, and to be signed in person OR digitally as defined in BGB and SigG (there is almost no way to satisfy those requirements for a company like ebay or Valve at the moment).
If you are a COMMERCIAL seller (indication: you must accept returns), then the clause is indeed binding.

There is NO customer protection AT ALL in EU regulations in that regard.
The situation WILL differ depending on your country.

Pharmaceutical's (1)

what2123 (1116571) | about 2 years ago | (#41096099)

I'm surprised Big-Pharma hasn't taken a chance to jump on this.

PayPal has done this before and lost (4, Informative)

djl4570 (801529) | about 2 years ago | (#41096479)

From Wikipedia:

In August 2002, Craig Comb and two others filed a class action against PayPal in, Craig Comb, et al. v. PayPal, Inc.. They sued, alleging illegal misappropriation of customer accounts and detailed ghastly customer service experiences. Allegations included freezing deposited funds for up to 180 days until disputes were resolved by PayPal, and forcing customers to arbitrate their disputes under the American Arbitration Association's guidelines (a costly procedure). The court ruled against PayPal, stating that "the User Agreement and arbitration clause are substantively unconscionable under California law," noting their unjustifiable one-sidedness and explicit prohibition of class actions produces results that "shock the conscience" and indicate PayPal was "attempting to insulate itself contractually from any meaningful challenge to its alleged practices"

does anyone still use ebay and paypal? (0, Troll)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#41096659)

everyone I know stopped using them years ago.

AFAIK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096679)

Since the supreme court ruled class action lawsuits are valid, I do not think even a EULA can override that. It may depend on state laws, but in essence no EULA is valid, especially when there is no ownership or product. Its one thing to buy software and have a license agreement, but you do not purchase anything from Ebay, so their EULA is even less valid.

Eventually this will be tested in court.

Bitmit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41096683)

Screw ebay. I list things for sale on bitmit now. I've sold quite a few things there too.

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