The Supreme Court has upheld this legal tactic, in large part because the companies have successfully argued that they will ensure fair arbitration for consumers, including agreeing to pay multiple fees. related to the process. But as a result, very few people have ever used the arbitration system.
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In the Amazon Alexa cases, attorneys representing clients have turned this consumer-friendly feature of the arbitration system to their advantage. By filing complaints continuously, this strategy left Amazon with a large legal bill before any cases were even resolved. Just to hire an arbitrator and start the process for a single claim has cost Amazon about $2,900.
“For most companies, arbitration has always been part of an effort to avoid liability,” said Travis Lenkner, an attorney at Keller Lenkner, which represents consumers in lawsuits involving Alexa. liability, not just to evade class action. “This is the first company to turn around. Others can do the same. “
Keller Lenkner used a similar approach to challenge the way DoorDash, its food delivery, grading and worker compensation service. When the company filed thousands of arbitration claims on behalf of DoorDash workers, the company unsuccessfully argued in court that it shouldn’t have to pay a lot of initial fees for the cases. DoorDash was berated by a federal judge for what he said was an attempt to evade the arbitration system.
In cases involving Alexa, Amazon did not fight the fees in court, but told Keller Lenkner in May that it dropped the arbitration claims as part of its “conditions of use.” Many of the Alexa arbitration lawsuits are still underway, and according to Amazon, many cases have been ruled in favor of the company.
Customers are complaining that Amazon devices, including the Echo, broke rules in those states where everyone must agree to be recorded.
“When we look at the matter, we believe most people don’t realize that smart speakers are recording them,” said Warren Postman, principal attorney at Keller Lenkner.