Microsoft Updating User Agreements to Block Class-Action Claims

Pulkit Chandna

Microsoft is making a small change across its consumer products and services—something  that most people won’t notice immediately, if at all. But just because something is small doesn’t necessarily mean it’s insignificant. Hit the jump for more.

The Redmond-based company, according to its assistant general counsel Jim Fielden, has begun updating user agreements across its consumer products and services. The main purpose of this whole exercise is to preclude class-action claims and force disputes with disgruntled customers in the U.S. into arbitration.

“When a customer in the United States has a dispute about a Microsoft product or service, many of our new user agreements will require that, if we can’t informally resolve the dispute, the customer bring the claim in small claims court or arbitration, but not as part of a class action lawsuit,” Fielden wrote in a blog post last week.

“Many companies have adopted this approach, which the U.S. Supreme Court permitted in a case it decided in 2011. We made this change to our terms of use for Xbox LIVE several months ago, and we will implement similar changes in user agreements for other products and services in the coming months as we roll out major licensing, hardware or software releases and updates.”

While Microsoft is convinced that this is the “right approach,” not everyone feels that way. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court gave the nod to arbitration clauses precluding class-action claims, there has been a raging debate over this issue.

Image Credit: Professor Virtual

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