Netflix Doesn’t Want You To Sue Them, According To New Terms Of Service

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Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed that Netflix wants you to “Agree” to something. The company has updated its terms of service, and within the new version, there lies an interesting little tidbit that you may want to review.

From the “Arbitration Agreement”:

These Terms of Use provide that all disputes between you and Netflix will be resolved by BINDING ARBITRATION. YOU AGREE TO GIVE UP YOUR RIGHT TO GO TO COURT to assert or defend your rights under this contract (except for matters that may be taken to small claims court). Your rights will be determined by a NEUTRAL ARBITRATOR and NOT a judge or jury and your claims cannot be brought as a class action.

Awesome.

Generally speaking, this means that you have absolutely no right to take Netflix to court over anything, including getting some buddies together and filing a class-action lawsuit. Of course, you’ll still have the option of lodging a complaint, going to small claims court, and/or entering into binding arbitration with the company, but no gavels will be involved. (At least, I don’t think any arbitrators have gavels?)

Netflix got in some hot water last year, shelling out $9 million after the loss of a class-action suit. Virginia residents had filed a suit claiming that Netflix was holding on to their DVD and instant records two years after they had cancelled the service — a violation of a 24-year old law.

Perhaps Netflix is reacting to this huge loss, but the timing seems way late. Come to think of it, it’s a little curious why Netflix would change its terms of service now… randomly. Why not include this provision right from the start?