Getty Images | Digital-SaintGoogle Fiber’s new terms add a clause familiar to subscribers of other large Internet service providers: customers who want to sue the company must now instead submit to arbitration.
The Google Fiber terms were updated last week with a note that they now “require the use of binding arbitration to resolve disputes rather than jury trials or class actions.” While the clause allows cases in small claims court, it otherwise forces customers to waive the right to bring legal actions against the ISP.

Arbitration must be sought on an individual basis, as the clause also prevents class arbitration.
The previous terms of service did not have the binding arbitration clause, though they did limit Google Fiber’s liability to the amount customers pay to use the services. (The Consumerist published an article on the change yesterday.)
There is a way for customers to opt out of the change, but they must act fast.
“According to the terms, the new agreement kicks in within 30 days of accepting the new language.

Customers can, however, during that time period use this online form (you must be logged in to your Fiber account to access it) to opt out of this change and future changes to the arbitration agreement,” The Consumerist noted.

The terms were changed on June 9, so there are 22 days left to opt out.

Customers received e-mails notifying them of the change a few days ago, the article said.
The binding arbitration clause is similar to clauses implemented by Comcast, Charter, and AT&T, the three largest home Internet providers in the US.
AT&T also has a binding arbitration clause for its wireless business and recently used it to prevent a class action over the company’s throttling of unlimited data plans.

Customers argued that the arbitration cause would violate their First Amendment right to petition a court for a redress of grievances, but a US District Court judge sided with AT&T.
AT&T has not been able to avoid actions from the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission in the unlimited data throttling case.
Similarly, Google Fiber customers’ best chance of seeking redress on a collective basis will likely be to file complaints with federal agencies, which could then fine or sue the company.

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