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April 29, 2009

Congress Should Consider Evidence over Hype in Arbitration Debate

Anti-arbitration advocates want more disputes taken to court, so they have been peddling studies and anecdotes to make the case against arbitration, including the ironically named Arbitration Fairness Act. Yet, they continue to ignore a growing body of evidence that verifies the benefits of the 84-year old arbitration system. 

In a bipartisan survey released in 2008, 71 percent of likely voters opposed efforts by Congress to remove arbitration agreements from consumer contracts, and 82 percent preferred arbitration to litigation as a means to settle a serious dispute with a company.

Also, earlier this year, the Searle Civil Justice Institute completed the most comprehensive empirical research projects to date on the use of consumer arbitration. Instead of the narrow focus relied on by pro-lawsuit special interest groups, Searle looked at a broad array of disputes—including credit card cases and cases involving products and services across the economy—and concluded that arbitration continues to provide consumers with fair, inexpensive and unbiased access to justice.

Congress owes it to the American consumer to look past the rhetoric and examine all the facts before it considers eliminating a proven system of consumer justice.

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