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Casey Muratori
Seattle, WA
Dear PayPal
No, I do not want you to take away my Constitutional rights.
This month, PayPal, Inc., became the latest in a series of companies to deny their customers the right to participate in class action lawsuits. Fortunately, they provide a way to “opt out” of this restriction, provided you take the onerous step of actually printing and mailing them a signed statement to that affect.
To say the least, it is never in any customer’s best interest not to opt out, so it seems clear that PayPal and friends require letters simply because far less people will take the time to write, print, sign, and mail them. If they could just go on-line and check a box like every other option you have with your PayPal account, everyone probably would.
So in an effort to make things easier for everyone, I have drafted a pleasant letter that fits the requirements stated. All everyone has to do is print it and write in their account details, then send it on its merry way.
The PDF version is here, and the PNG version is here. The text itself appears below for your perusal prior to printing.
The Letter
Dear PayPal,
Thank you for notifying me of your upcoming policy change that, were I to join with a group of my fellow citizens, removes my right to a civil trial under Amendment VII to the United States Constitution.
I realize that the Constitution is a big inconvenience for you, so I fully understand why you’d prefer that it didn’t affect your behavior as an institution. Well, actually, I guess you must not mind it as much when it guarantees you things like the right to exclusive use of your inventions for a limited time, and the right to spend as much money as you want on political campaigns. I noticed that your policy update didn’t include any language barring those parts. Maybe you just forgot to post those pages of the policy update? HTML is a difficult language to master, it’s true!
Anyway, I understand why you would prefer binding arbitration, with a company you get to hand select, instead of something so fickle and unpredictable as the United States judicial system. Arbitration is run by corporations, which — as history has amply demonstrated — are always fair and altruistic. Being a corporation, you probably feel a lot more comfortable with another corporation adjudicating disputes between you and your customers, given that the alternative is to rely on a bunch of anonymous citizens. I mean, anonymous citizens don’t know anything about how hard it is to run a company like PayPal from day to day. They aren’t trapped inside a bunch of giant new fancy glass office buildings, fretting over what to do with $4 billion in annual revenue. They might not appreciate how important it is for companies like PayPal to be immunized against damages for things like suspending a charity’s payment account, or cutting off donations to people who need legal services, which I know you’ve done many times in the past (albeit for all the right reasons, I’m sure).
So, please understand that I mean no offense when I say that I do not agree to your Agreement to Arbitrate for my PayPal account:
(account details omitted)
Call me old fashioned, but I just really like those dusty old court rooms with those funny robe-wearing fellows who use all those weird phrases like “facial challenge”. Hey, maybe I’ll even get to see you there some day, with a few thousand of my closest friends, now that we’ve all sent you this letter!
- Casey Muratori
2012 October 27
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