American Express Arbitration Case – Credit Card Fees – Class Action – The Supreme Court Got it Right


Hi there, I’m Charley Mann, and this is the
JustAskBenGlass.tv program where we have a team of legal experts, including Ben Glass
our guest for today, who can answer your legal questions. If you’d like to submit a legal
question, you can do so at JustAskBenGlass.com. And if your question is chosen to appear on
the air, you’ll get a free copy of Ben’s book The Ultimate Success Secret. OK, so Ben our
question today is from Mike in Fredericksburg, and Mike saw the completely new ruling from
the Supreme Court about the arbitration clause from American Express with small businesses
and American Express has already had some trouble with having higher rates. Small business
owners were outraged about that. Now they have concern about having to go to arbitration,
and the Supreme Court has upheld this arbitration clause. What exactly is going on here? So
this is creating a lot of controversy in the lawyer world. What the Supreme Court specifically
decided was that when a merchant agrees to take American Express cards, you sign a contract,
and the contract says: if you want to dispute anything with us, you can’t go to court, you
have to go to arbitration. So the challenge by the merchants was they wanted to throw
out that part of the contract. Of course, a lot of trial lawyers are saying, “Oh, that’s
not fair.” Actually, in my view, American Express was correct on their policy. Supreme
Court of the United States was absolutely correct on its ruling. Now how will this actually
affect the attorneys, why specifically are they so outraged over this? Well, they want
to go to court in big class action lawsuits. But here’s what was going on. A merchant you
know has a choice, and they can say hey we’ll accept Visa, we’ll accept cash, we’ll accept
American Express. And what they were complaining about was that American Express said, “OK,
but if you use us, you have to offer both our nice – you have to offer both our platinum
card that has a nice low rate a merchant pays. And you have to offer all our cards, some
of which had higher rates.” The merchants were saying, “That’s not fair. You’re forcing
us to accept a card that has a higher rate.” That just absolutely wasn’t true. I mean a
merchant voluntarily can decide to not use American Express, but once they say, “Oh,
I want that deal,” they can’t pick and choose. They reach a voluntary agreement. That was
the underlying dispute and that was a stupid dispute, I think. Then they wanted to say,
“Oh, well we don’t want the arbitration provision in the contract,” but they voluntarily signed
the contract. Look, one of the things America was built on is: prosperity is created when
a willing buyer and a willing seller agree to trade services for money, product for money,
whatever, under their own terms. This isn’t a place for government. This isn’t a place
for courts. So American Express is free to establish whatever rates they want, and the
merchant is free to go, “No, I don’t want that deal.” Or, “I want that deal.” Merchant
can raise his prices, he can combine special offers, he can choose to only use Visa and
Mastercard if he wants. So this is a little bit more of I think, sort of class action
silliness. I know a lot of lawyers don’t agree with me. But I’m right on this, I’m right
on this. Well Ben, thank you very much for your time, your expert opinion, and as always
if you want to submit a question for our team of experts, you can do so at JustAskBenGlass.com,
and if your question is featured on the program, you’ll get a free copy of Ben’s book The Ultimate
Success Secret. Thanks for watching. Thanks Charley.

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