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FairShake: In a first, and a victory for consumers, Charter Communications booted from American Arbitration Association

Published on October 29, 2019 by the FairShake Team

Update, October 29, 4:45 PM, PDT: FairShake is seeing indications that the action below may have been reversed, with Charter being allowed to pay its back fees with the AAA. We will post an update if there are further relevant developments.

Oakland, CA (October 29, 2019) – Consumer rights service FairShake revealed today that Charter Communications has been excluded from the American Arbitration Association, opening the company to the potential for class action lawsuits by mistreated customers.

The development took place after Charter repeatedly failed to pay its fees in an arbitration proceeding brought by a dissatisfied subscriber. FairShake assisted the subscriber in filing the arbitration claim.

Charter appears to be the first company of its size to face such an expulsion, which is likely to impact all twenty-six million residential customers of the company’s voice, internet, and cable services. The company was directed to update the dispute resolution clause in its contracts.

FairShake: The Consumer Rights Service

Legal experts say the invalidation of its arbitration clause exposes Charter to potential class action lawsuits. Binding arbitration clauses are used by a wide range of companies as a way to force unhappy customers to bring claims individually and in private.

FairShake’s CEO, Teel Lidow, praised the American Arbitration Association (AAA) for taking action, saying “It’s both heartening and really significant that the AAA has stepped up and told companies that they too have to play by the rules and pay their bills.”

According to the organization’s communication:

[I]t is the policy of American Arbitration Association not to accept future filings submitted on behalf of consumers against Charter due to Charter’s failure to comply with the procedures of the Consumer Arbitration Rules, which includes the failure to pay AAA fees.

Charter’s expulsion comes as California recently passed a new law requiring companies to pay on time in arbitration proceedings. In December 2018, Uber faced controversy when thousands of drivers said the company was stalling arbitration cases by refusing to pay fees.

In the past decade, a growing number of companies have included contract clauses that force legal claims from their customers into the arbitration system. But prior to FairShake, no service existed to automate processing and coach individual consumers through what can be a confusing process.

Charter is the U.S.’s second largest cable provider, with over 26 million subscribers. The company acquired Time Warner Cable in 2016, and currently operates primarily under the Spectrum brand.

The AAA is the nation’s most prominent venue for consumer arbitration. In 2019’s second quarter the organization resolved 1,020 customer disputes.

FairShake has helped thousands of customers bring claims and recover compensation from large companies over issues like over-billing, not honoring sales promises, and improper credit reporting.

Original Link: https://myradvocate.com/press/a-victory-for-consumers-2019-10-29

See Also: Letter from American Arbitration Association sanctioning Charter Communications for non-payment

For Media Comment:
Max Kornblith
Co-Founder, FairShake
max [at] myradvocate.com

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