Much has been written about the negative impact of forced arbitration and how the arbitration system is essentially blocking our consumers from access to courts. In big cases, large corporations like arbitration because it gets the case away from a jury.

But how about smaller cases? Let’s say you get sued by your credit card company for defaulting on your credit card. The credit card company or debt collector sues you in county court for breach of contract. What if the credit card agreement has an arbitration clause? Could you request the court order the case to arbitration? If so, why would you want to do that?

If you are sued by a credit card company and you get a copy of your credit card agreement and it contains an arbitration clause, then yes you can file a Motion to Compel Arbitration. I have noticed in recent years that many of the credit card agreements not only have an arbitration clause, but the clause will say that the credit card company has to advance all of the arbitrator’s fees (which can be pretty steep!). If the judge grants your motion, the case will be sent to arbitration and the judge may even order the credit card company to advance all of the arbitration fees.

Oftentimes, in smaller cases, you will get a favorable settlement or sometimes even a dismissal of the case if arbitration is ordered. This is because the credit card company’s claim against you is not large enough to justify paying so much money in arbitration fees. So, sometimes by seeking arbitration, you are not only exercising your legal right under a contract but also making a strategic decision which may ultimately benefit your case.

Just something to keep in mind.

Best Regards,


Ryan C. Torrens

Consumer litigation attorney