Attorneys Taking Action - Class Action News
Pokemon Go mania has rapidly taken hold of the country faster than you can catch a Rattata. SimilarWeb reports that Pokemon Go downloads exceeded that of dating app Tinder within twenty-four hours of its release and its daily users surpass that of social media giant Twitter. But this swift ascent and rush to download means that millions of users across America downloaded the application before reading the fine print . And that fine print contains a bold statement: users of the application have agreed to forced arbitration in case of dispute and have waived their right to enter into any class action lawsuits against Niantic.
This is known as an arbitration agreement, or as it has been recently coined, a “rip-off clause”. This statement is scarier and more restrictive than it appears when buried in the lengthy user agreement. If something goes wrong- users’ personal data is breached, or Pokemon Go charges users’ credit cards without permission- users have agreed to give up their Seventh Amendment right to sue Niantic. Instead, they will be forced to meet with Niantic and a third-party arbitrator, hand-picked by the company itself.
The “rip-off clause” also bans consumers from banding together and suing as a collective group, or class, in a class action lawsuit. These types of lawsuits are often the only way to truly hold a company accountable for its harmful practices because few consumers have the resources to individually fight against a company’s expensive legal team. It is no wonder this clause has been referred to by state court judges as “’a get-out-of-jail-free card”.
You can combat this “rip-off” clause while walking between PokeStops. Make sure that within thirty days of your initial download of the application, you email email@example.com or mail an opt-out request to 2 Bryant Ste. 220, San Francisco, CA 94105. You can also support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in their attempt to ban arbitration agreements by making your voice heard at http://www.fairarbitrationnow.org/noripoffclause/ before August 22, 2016. It takes less time than catching yet another Pidgey.