Read Credit Card Company’s Fine Print About Arbitration Process Before Agreeing To Terms

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In a new move, many companies are asking their customers to resolve all problems via binding dispute resolution process instead of going to court. They’re often seen with financial companies, cable providers, cellphone carriers and online service providers such as Amazon and Netflix.

Many companies are offering people the option to opt-out of this Arbitration, but it must be done right after they sign up. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one-fourth of the more than 400 contracts looked at have an opt-out provision.

Citi Cards customers may have recently had an opportunity to opt-out. How so? The credit card company looked over its customer agreements and reached out to clients regarding these changes. The company gave them a chance to opt-out of the standard arbitration agreement.

However, the window of time for this is limited. A letter was sent to customer letting them know they could reject the provision on arbitration by sending a letter to them and informing them of their desire to reject it. The letter must be postmarked on or by Dec. 22, 2016. Rejection of the change won’t close accounts.

A spokeswoman with Citi defended the arbitration process, saying it was a cost-effective, impartial methods to address disputes. Of course, the instructions Citi gave is a bit vague. Every clause has a path for people to opt-out but isn’t a one size fits all situation. There are several rules you should follow when you write your opt-out letter such as:

  • Following instructions

  • Make yourself known

  • Be straightforward about what you want

  • Keep meticulous records

  • Write the opt-out letter yourself

It’s not uncommon to see conflicting information. According to Carol Blacher, who wrote on the site Mouseprint.com, she followed the company’s instructions and wrote them a letter. Her letter led to two answers – one that said she was opted-out and the other claiming she was not eligible. She made several calls the Citi’s customer service but still has no idea where she stands.

If you really want to opt-out, don’t be discouraged by their process, as they’re making it hard to do so you’ll give up.

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