Consumers Right to File Class Actions is in Danger
November 13, 2010
Class action lawsuits are amongst the most important venues by which a consumer can seek redress when harmed by a big corporation. The fact of the matter is that when a total loss is perhaps only a few hundred dollars, it will not make economic sense for a person to pursue the matter in court-with the filing costs, the time off from work to appear in court for various needed appearances, soon a consumer rather just take the loss than dwell on it. If that were the case, big corporations with millions of customers can take (yes literally take) a few hundred dollars here and there and be none the worse for it. Is that fair? Of course not.
So enters the concept of class action: bringing one lawsuit on behalf of the millions who have been bamboozled and suddenly you have something a law firm can get involved in–and that is what the big corporation is hoping to prevent happening.
If the little clause in the contract presented to you on a take it or leave it fashion is allowed to take away your right to participate in a class action, the corporations such as ATT and others who frankly do not have a clean track record of consumer protection will have a free hand in imposing whatever they like in terms of surprise charges, and excessive charges and hidden fees and costs on the consumer–and the pennies it will cost them to defend against any complaint can simply be worked into the cost of doing business.
If AT&T has its way before the Supreme Court, any business that issues a contract to customers would be able to prevent them from joining class-action lawsuits, taking away arguably the most powerful legal tool available to the little guy.