The Future of Consumer Law in the United States - Hello Arbitration, Bye-Bye Courts, So-Long Consumer Protection

28 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2007  

Richard M. Alderman

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: September 19, 2007

Abstract

Arbitration of consumer disputes has become the norm rather than the exception. Although attempts to dispute the enforceability of arbitration are occasionally successful, it is clear that until Congress takes action the use arbitration will become more and more widespread. It is possible that all consumer disputes may soon be "privatized" and removed from our judicial system. Many have written about the ills of arbitration and the legal basis for attacking arbitration clauses. This article does not attempt to review all of that literature. Instead, it suggests that arbitration of consumer disputes must be prohibited for one simple reason - our system of government needs the judicial branch and in the consumer arena it is slowly disappearing. The vanishing jury trial is a "hot topic" generally, but when it comes to consumer disputes the vanishing jury trial, accompanied by the disappearing appellate decision, threatens to undermine our system of regulating the consumer market place. The article concludes that enactment of the recently proposed Arbitration Fairness Act is the only way to reverse this trend and let our courts play the role their proper role.

Keywords: consumer, arbitration, dispute resolution, alternative dispute resolution, consumer protection

Suggested Citation

Alderman, Richard M., The Future of Consumer Law in the United States - Hello Arbitration, Bye-Bye Courts, So-Long Consumer Protection (September 19, 2007). U of Houston Law Center No. 2008-A-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1015517 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1015517

Richard M. Alderman (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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