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What can be done to fight a dispute against Verizon Wireless?

Hamburg, PA |

I had a galaxy nexus phone for 6 months. Never in water or near water had a case on it and screen protector. Phone just froze and stopped working. Took the phone to verizon store, they stated it was well taking care of, and no water damage. From the verizon store they called verizon warranty. Mailed box to mail back for replacement, then billed me $300 stating corrosion and water damage. Additionally, I bought the phone as "New" and found out was refurbished. They did their internal decision on the matter and deemed it to be our fault. Do I have a case?

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Attorney answers 4


try PA attorney General consumer complaints website.


You can go pound sand, according to the US Supreme Court. Ever hear of "mandatory binding arbitration"?

Verizon Wireless buries an arbitration clause in the fine print of its consumer contracts. Check it out: It's in the box, way down toward the bottom.

What this means is that you have waived your constitutional right to sue them, bring a class action, or otherwise obtain any meaningful relief whatsoever. It also means that Verizon has totally insulated itself from claims like yours - relatively small $$ value claims for fraud, product defects, or violations of consumer protection statutes.

Sound unfair? Well, it is. It's unconscionable that big powerful corporations can hide language in fine print that allows them to break the law with impunity. Unfortunately, the US Supreme Court has repeatedly said these clauses are OK, and it's just "too darn bad" if millions of consumers get hurt along the way and have no avenue for relief.

So, what can you do?

First, you can read up on all the sickening details about what mandatory forced arbitration means for consumers, employees and small businesses. Start by going here:

Second, you can call and write your US Congressman and your Senators and urge them to support the Arbitration Fairness Act (H.R. 1844 (in the House) and S. 878 (in the Senate)).

Third, tell everyone you know that Verizon ripped you off and there's nothing you can do about it due to their "arbitration" clause. Then tell all those people to repeat steps 1 and 2.

The above is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


Mr. Milz is absolutely correct. The U.S. Supreme Court's June 13, 2013 opinion in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, ruled that corporations can use the fine print of contracts to grant themselves a license to steal and violate the law.

As the Association for American Justice stated in the aftermath of the Supreme court's decision: “It is imperative that Congress and federal agencies act to protect individuals and small businesses from the abusive practice of forced arbitration. Without Congressional action, all federal and state civil rights, employment, antitrust, and consumer protections are at risk of being wiped away by the fine print.”

UCLA Law Professor Katherine Stone described the impact of the AMEX decision as destroying consumers' rights: "Today the Supreme Court put another nail in the coffin of the withering body of consumer rights. In the American Express v. Italian Colors case, the Court furthered its trend that permits corporations to use arbitration to prevent consumers from challenging their unlawful conduct. *** Although the American Express case itself involved a dispute brought by merchants, the opinion will have dire consequences for consumers. By narrowing effective-vindication-of-substantive-rights principle, the Court has opened the door for powerful companies to impose arbitration clauses that prevent consumers from challenging all types of illegal practices. Without the effective-vindication limitation on the range of enforceable arbitration clauses, consumers will be powerless to vindicate any of their statutory rights."

The only thing you and other consumers can do is put pressure on your Congressmen to pass legislation prohibiting class action waivers in arbitration clauses.

Legal Information is Not Legal Advice My answer provides information about the law based on the limited information provided in the questions asked and is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions, and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. The answer to the question is for educational and informational purposes only. The law differs in each jurisdiction and may be interpreted or applied differently depending on the jurisdiction or situation. Accordingly, I highly recommend that you consult with an attorney to discuss the details of your problem so you can get legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances. I am licensed to practice law in California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


Andrew laid it out well