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“In its most recent update to its “User Agreement,” Capital Bikeshare has slipped in a forced arbitration clause and class action ban that significantly affects the rights of Bikeshare members.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user James Warner

“Dear PoPville,

Thought this was interesting. Folks should protect their rights.”

From Public Justice’s Opt Out of Capital Bikeshare’s Forced Arbitration Clause by Dani Zylberberg:

“In its most recent update to its “User Agreement,” Capital Bikeshare—the hugely popular bike program in the Washington, D.C. area—has slipped in a forced arbitration clause and class action ban that significantly affects the rights of Bikeshare members. In fact, this new “User Agreement” only benefits Capital Bikeshare, not its members. But if you are a Capital Bikeshare member there is something you can do about it: Opt Out!

Capital Bikeshare’s new “User Agreement” forces users to give up their right to go to court, and instead sends dispute that would typically be heard by a court into arbitration, which almost always favors corporations over consumers. That’s because arbitrators—who are often hired again and again by corporations to hear these disputes—unsurprisingly tend to rule in favor of the company that is bringing the arbitrator repeat business.

But you can do something about it: Opt out! And do it quickly.

Capital Bikeshare’s User Agreement allows its members to avoid this arbitration clause by following these simple steps within thirty days of your first use of its service:

From the email account you used to register with Capital Bikeshare, address an email to [email protected];
In the body of your email write, “I opt out of Arbitration and the Class Action Waiver” and optionally include your member id if you have it handy.
Send the email.

Although this also waives your right to force arbitration upon Capital Bikeshare in the event of any dispute, it doesn’t prevent you and Capital Bikeshare from mutually agreeing to use arbitration if that is what you both desire at the time. If arbitration will really be to both your benefits—as corporations often argue—then it will be a no-brainer for Capital Bikeshare to arbitrate whatever claims it or you may have.”

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