Let's not talk about it: Amazon would prefer to be sued

Originally published at: Let's not talk about it: Amazon would prefer to be sued | Boing Boing

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Once again Amazon being mother-fuckers.

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Ok, now I get why I got that email saying they were changing their ToS.

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Binding arbitration is a fuck.

The idea is, it takes stress off the court system and saves money in cases where negotiated contracts are disputed.

The only time it makes sense is between 2 large corporations.

99.9% of contracts between corporations and consumers are exploitative contracts of adhesion. So the consumer has no autonomy or recourse at point of sale. Then when injured by the corporation, the consumer has no legal remedy.

Fuck binding arbitration. It’s just a way for corporations to force people to waive their rights.

Sure binding arbitration in this case may have been expensive. But there’d be zero legal repercussions for amazon if they stuck with binding arbitration. Now that they’ve decided to go with civil suits, they might actually get into legal trouble for their actions.

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So the solution to binding arbitration clauses is to show companies they’d accidentally internalized a cost that had previously been taxpayer-funded?

I mean, I’ll take it, but something about that seems… off.

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So, when they required arbitration to avoid courts (and their fees) as well as avoiding establishing any kind of precident, they were villified. Now that they’re going back to the normal legal system, they’re also being villified? FFS people, pick one.

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Jason Bateman Cotton GIF

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There really is no need to pick one, because the problem is the same in both. In each case they were able to use unequal power in the transaction to demand the venue that suits them.

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With individual plaintiffs, arbitration is usually rigged in favour of the megacorporation imposing the EULA for a number of reasons. In this case, it turned out that an organised swarm of those individuals co-ordinated by a class-action lawyer flipped that advantage on its head.

Must be nice to be able to play legal Calvinball like Amazon does when it doesn’t like the rules it set earlier.

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That’s exactly what Terms of Service, Terms of Use or EULA contracts are: Contracts of adhesion. You can’t get around them; they are take-it-or-leave it propositions.

I’ve canceled subscriptions, for software and other kinds of services because the company placed arbitration and no-class-action clauses in their contracts (I canceled Flickr and my local newspaper delivery, once the paper got taken over by a bigger company). The nicer companies allow you to opt out of these provisions within 30 days, but most are take-it-and-shut-up.

The other day, I did see the email from Amazon removing this from their ToS contract (and I’m glad it’s been discussed here on BB); it was a surprise. I wonder if other companies will follow suit.

Edit: typos

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I know, right? They just can’t seem to catch a break!

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Ok, I’ll pick villifying Amazon, on general principles.

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They’re being vilified because they’re using their power to change the rules unilaterally whenever it suits them. Their in-house counsel is probably desperately trying to figure out a way to impose required arbitration when individuals are involved while also imposing the normal legal system in situations where there are class-actions or just the co-ordinated swarms that prompted this change.

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“If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.”

― Sun Tzu

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Still waiting…

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Some context from earlier in the year.

I suspect that dropping the binding arbitration is in part an attempt to ameliorate the general anti-big tech sentiment that is going on in congress.

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You’ll do what we want, and like it.