Saturday, June 09, 2007

Gateway Having Trouble Proving Agreement to Arbitrate

An interesting story surfaced on Slashdot today. A California man has sued Gateway in small claims court alleging he got a lemon. Gateway is trying to have the case kicked to private arbitration, per the arbitration agreement they claim he agreed to.

The customer claims that because the monitor on his Gateway computer was malfunctioning so badly right out of the box, he couldn't read the arbitration agreement, let alone "click" the I Agree button. He claims that during tech support calls, a technician had him bypass the screen altogether. He also claims there was no written documentation with the PC that set forth the arbitration agreement.

The original judge agreed with the customer, but Gateway has asked the court to reconsider its ruling.

This case demonstrates one of the weaknesses of what I call the "gatekeeper theory" of proving assent.

Read the story from the Sacramento Bee.

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