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I have an account with TruMark Credit Union. Today I received a letter telling me that unless I send them a physical letter opting-out that my right to a jury trial would be lost... can they do this?

How can they create an opt-out only system, and how can they not accept my opt-out over the phone or email?

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This follows from a term in your agreement: in opening the account, you agreed to a binding arbitration clause. The general reason why they can do this is because it is not prohibited by law to have such clauses in agreements (in fact, the Federal Arbitration Act protects such clauses from legal challenge). For the same reasons, the clauses can impose deadlines on opt-out or require opt-out by mail as opposed to email or phone call. The premise is that if you find such terms unacceptably onerous or unacceptable, you will not patronize that business. That assumes that the customer read and understood the agreement that they signed, which I grant is often untrue.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Dale M May 7 at 2:12
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Binding arbitration’s legal

It is almost certain that the letter is simply restating the dispute resolution terms in the contract that you agreed to when you opened the account.

If it isn't in the original agreement then they are proposing a change - you can either agree to this change or, as the letter suggests opt-out of the change. Or you can close your account.

Binding arbitration does not offend the 7th amendment because while your right to a trial can’t be taken from you, you are free to voluntarily give up that right in a contract. As you did.

Also, the 7th amendment is one of the few that doesn’t apply to state law - it’s likely that a controversy with a credit union is a state matter.

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