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DropBox Arbitration and What It Means For You

Meeting of the minds online in terms and conditions, dropbox arbitrationHow many relationships are you in? Probably more than you can keep track of. Don’t worry! I am talking about the consumer-business relationship!  Yes, you are in countless relationships with businesses.

Every time a consumer engages in a transaction with a business (e.g., clicks on a website, buys an iPad, attends a Mariner’s baseball game, etc.), there is a relationship.  With a relationship, there are expectations, and promises.  For example: You will not run onto the baseball field at a Mariner’s game, you will not disrupt the other patrons’ enjoyment, in exchange for the Mariner’s agreeing to play the game and offer you a seat and entertainment.

Promises and expectations are set with, at least some, meeting of the minds.  The definitive legal term, “meeting of Click and Accept Terms and Conditionsthe minds” means you understood the expectations from the relationship.

The issue in the mobile Internet age of click and accept, is — was there indeed a meeting of the minds to the corporation’s “Terms and Conditions”?  Most courts say, yes.  As such, you agreed to the arbitration clause within the terms and conditions.  Say what?  Let’s take a look at one such arbitration clause.  Let’s look at the popular cloud, Dropbox and its arbitration clause.

Dropbox Arbitration – where is it and is it so bad?

The Dropbox Arbitration clause is located in the Terms of Service page.  To get there from the Dropbox homepage, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the hyperlink “Privacy.”  Make sure you are then on the Terms of Service page.  Scroll down a bit until you arrive to the subheadinDropbox Arbitrationg “Resolving Disputes.” You will find:

Resolving Disputes

Let’s Try To Sort Things Out First. We want to address your concerns without needing a formal legal case. Before filing a claim against Dropbox, you agree to try to resolve the dispute informally by contacting dispute-notice@dropbox.com. We’ll try to resolve the dispute informally by contacting you via email. If a dispute is not resolved within 15 days of submission, you or Dropbox may bring a formal proceeding.

OK, not bad.  Dropbox is open to resolving the dispute.  I bolded and underscored their email for you above, to make it clear where you can try to reach a human at Dropbox.  A human who may care to try to fairly resolve your dispute.  However, if that does not work out, Dropbox says:

We Both Agree To Arbitrate. You and Dropbox agree to resolve any claims relating to these Terms or the Services through final and binding arbitration, except as set forth under Exceptions to Agreement to Arbitrate below.

Hold on!  You may be thinking – Binding?  Final?  Who said so?  Well, your gut reaction is fair. And, if you are so inclined, you can opt-out, Dropbox says:

[Read More…]

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