The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 103 Number 10

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act requires full disclosure by sellers. If a seller intentionally withholds material information, he could be responsible for three times the consumer's damages, plus court costs and attorney's fees.

For more general information about the law, check out my website.
 Click here for more.


NHTSA Announces Recall of 7.8M Vehicles

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some 7.8 million vehicles are equipped with faulty airbags that could lead to death or serious injury. Accordingly, the government agency is urging consumers to find out if their cars are subject to the recall and, if so, have the vehicle fixed as soon as possible.

The recall includes vehicles from ten different automakers. Honda alone has more than five million vehicles included in the recall.

The recall stems from a problem with the airbag housing on affected vehicles, which can break loose when deployed and cause shrapnel to blow into the faces and chests of occupants.

With the large number of recalls recently receiving media attention, an important message can get easily get lost as consumers become desensitized to such announcements. However, according to the NHTSA, it is especially important that consumers pay close attention to this recall and take action immediately.

Is your vehicle included in the massive recall?
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The Best Day to Find Cheap Tickets

What day of the week is best for buying airline tickets?

A survey of a 19 month period ending in July, including 130 million international and domestic round trip tickets, showed Sunday as the day with lowest average price per ticket at $432. On Tuesday, the day traditionally thought to be the best to purchase airfare, ticket prices averaged $497.

Although the survey found Sunday to have the lowest overall ticket prices, Tuesday is still a great day to purchase. Airlines frequently offer price drops on Tuesdays. In fact, 40% of all price drops occur on Tuesday or Wednesday, often from early week sales.

Will you find the best price for your destination on Sunday or Tuesday?
 Click here for more.


Your Money

When should you begin saving for your child's college?
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For the Lawyers

Tribal arbitration agreement is unconscionable.

The Seventh Circuit found that a class of borrowers did not have to proceed with arbitration conducted by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (“Tribe”) in South Dakota “because the arbitral mechanism specified in the agreement is illusory.”

The agreements provided that any disputes would be resolved by arbitration “conducted by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Nation by an authorized representative in accordance with its consumer dispute rules.” The arbitrator would be a Tribal Elder or members of the Tribal Council. The agreement also provided it was governed by the laws of the Tribe.

The Seventh Circuit reversed the district court, concluding that the plaintiffs’ claims should not have been dismissed. It reached that conclusion based on applying two different analyses.

First, it applied the rule that forum selection clauses (like the one here selecting arbitration by the Tribe) are enforceable unless “unreasonable under the circumstances.” The court found the forum selection was illusory and therefore unreasonable because the Tribe “does not authorize Arbitration…does not involve itself in the hiring of …arbitrator[s], and [] does not have consumer dispute rules.”

Second, the Seventh Circuit considered the enforceability of the arbitration agreement under Illinois law (which applied if the agreement’s choice of Tribal law was invalid). Under Illinois law, the court found that the arbitration agreement was unconscionable. It found it was procedurally unconscionable (despite the plaintiff’s having the right to opt out) because the plaintiffs could not have found out about the dispute resolution process and rules, since there were none. It was substantively unconscionable because the dispute resolution mechanism did not exist and any arbitrator was likely to be biased. The court also noted that its finding of unconscionability was not preempted by the decision in Concepcion.
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