Today we are officially launching ConsumersCount.org, a consumer service and advocacy organization created in response to the Supreme Court’s sanctioning of forced arbitration clauses and class action bans in consumer contracts. While Consumers Count is dedicated to creating a consumer movement to end arbitration in consumer contracts, it is also painfully aware that absent the creation of a political movement, arbitration will continue to erode, if not eliminate, any ability to provide systemic relief for consumers harmed by predatory and unfair practices. Consumers Count seeks to address this inequity by “crowdcasing.” 

Crowd casing is utilizing the power of social media tools and the internet to consolidate individual arbitration claims into mass actions. As a consumer advocate, I know that corporations only understand numbers. By reducing their adversary to one and establishing a corporate star chamber known as arbitration, the Chamber of Commerce has successfully implemented a system of corporate immunity.  Consumers Count seeks to change that.  But, by crowd casing individual claims, we will restore some of the leverage consumers have irreparably lost by class action bans. Crowd casing creates a critical mass of consumers that corporations have to take seriously, makes the arbitration economically viable for consumers and their advocates to pursue, and provides an opportunity to educate individual consumers about the entirety of consumer rights they have lost, including the loss of their VII Amendment right to trial by jury.

Consumers are completely unaware that their rights have been eliminated by arbitration. And they won’t become aware until they have a problem and seek counsel, only to be told there is nothing that can be done because they ostensibly “agreed” to a forced arbitration clause. It is precisely at that moment the consumer needs to be engaged.  If we have learned anything over the last decade, it is that corporate America is waging an unfair fight.  As consumers, we need to fight back and make our voices count.  We need you.

Consumers Count seeks to empower consumers and their advocates. We want to provide an address where consumers can go to get their money back, but also the forum for consumers to be proactive and engaged in restoring their rights. In addition, we will also build a database of arbitration decisions to not only assist consumers in their efforts to hold corporations accountable, but, if necessary to also collect the actual evidence of arbitration’s inherent bias towards its corporate master.

We have entered a dark period. We can never match the resources of corporate predators. But corporate America can never match our passion for what we know is just. We need to impart that sense of what is right and what is wrong. As consumers, as lawyers, as mothers and fathers, students and teachers, all of us need to engage. Consumers Count is aimed at matching your sense of outrage at your confrontation with unfairness to the passion and the advocacy skills of others in the same boat.

Whether ConsumersCount.org works or not remains to be seen. But what is clear is that consumers need to rethink their approach to holding corporations accountable. Now that corporations have forced us to deal with them one person at a time, we need to change the landscape one consumer at a time.

We welcome your comments or suggestions on the site. If you have a complaint that has been compelled to arbitration, we encourage you launch a case to see if it can help you and fellow consumers achieve a modicum of justice. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter