“With smartphones, iPads, and tablets, consumers have instant access to a worldwide marketplace,” Goldberg Segalla’s Oliver E. Twaddell, an attorney in the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation and Arbitration Practice Group, write in Inside Counsel. However, when consumers “click away” one of the only digital barriers to that marketplace — the “terms and conditions” attached to many apps, services, and software — they are frequently agreeing to submit any and all disputes to arbitration. The recent Meyer v. Uber Technologies et. al. decision has confirmed this. “That ‘yes’ — in conjunction with longstanding U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence favoring arbitration — will go a long way toward reducing the runaway costs associated with class action lawsuits,” Oliver writes, and will “provide internet user-based businesses assurances that their online terms and conditions that contain an arbitration provision will be enforced by U.S. courts.”
In the article, Oliver explains the deference to and preference for arbitration that U.S. courts have shown repeatedly: if arbitration is an option, “they will find any way to compel it,” they write. Oliver then takes a detailed look at Meyer v. Uber Technologies et. al.
“The Uber Technologies decision should lend comfort to internet-based businesses in that they can successfully employ arbitration agreements electronically,” Oliver writes. “However, businesses that deploy “clickwrap” or “browsewrap” functions” — different methods of notifying users about terms and conditions and soliciting acknowledgement — “should ensure that their terms and conditions are reasonably conspicuous so the user is aware of and can easily access them before assenting to the same.”