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David Dayen: Wells Fargo Is Trying to Bury Another Massive Scandal

This story is not surprising to me. The fact that the big banks and corporations can use arbitration clauses buried in the fine print of their contract is outrageous and should be banned. The fact of the matter is that historically speaking, arbitration was typically used by merchants and in some cases several different countries to resolve territorial disputes as shown by this quote, “Some historians hold that arbitration was used as a means of resolving disputes before the appearance of the court system. These historians point to records of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to support this claim. These records indicate that in ancient times, contrary to the practice of today, the arbitrator was generally a person know and trusted by both parties – the better known the arbitrator the more confidence the parties would have in his or her judgement.

Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, is recorded to have used arbitration to settle territorial disputes arising from a peace treaty with some of the Greek states in 337 BC.[1]

Lord Mustill, Lord Justice of Appeal, commences his article ‘Arbitration – History and Background’ in the Journal of International Arbitration(1989), “Commercial arbitration must have existed since the dawn of commerce. All trade potentially involves disputes, and successful trade must have a means of dispute resolution other than force.” See https://dynalex.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/a-brief-history-of-commercial-arbitration/

” In Athens, most disputes were settled through arbitration rather than in the Jury Courts. There were two kinds of arbitration: public and private. In private arbitration, the two parties to the dispute would select a mutually agreeable third person or persons to decide the case; the results of private arbitration were recognized in the law as binding and final, and no appeal was permitted (unless malfeasance could be shown on the part of the arbitrator). Alternatively, the contending parties could bring their dispute to a state-appointed public Arbitrator. (The board of public Arbitrators consisted of all male citizens in their sixtieth year.) Because the disputants had no choice about which Arbitrator was assigned to them, and might end up with a dud, it was thought only fair in the case of public arbitration (unlike private arbitration) to allow the Arbitrator’s decision to be appealed to the Jury Courts. The choice between private arbitrators, public Arbitrators, and Jury Courts introduced a salutary competitive element into the Athenian judicial system. ” See this webpage https://www.lewrockwell.com/2004/06/roderick-t-long/libertarian-athens/

Livinglies's Weblog

The bank became notorious last year for creating fake accounts on behalf of customers. Now it’s trying to kill a class-action lawsuit over shady debit card fees.

Wells Fargo became a poster child for corporations that abuse their own customers last year when it got fined for ginning up roughly 2 million (maybe even more) fake accounts to meet high sales goals. The bank has since tried to block customer lawsuits over that misconduct, using fine print buried in contracts known as the forced arbitration clauses, which force customers to go not before judges but a secretive non-judicial process to get relief.

It turns out Wells Fargo has a long history of using arbitration to evade legal scrutiny. In fact, for the past six years, Wells has tried to use arbitration to block a class-action suit…

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