By Nerino Petro at 2 September, 2008, 9:50 am
Anyone that has used a piece of software, signed up for a credit card or a cell phone, is well aware of the so called "license" or "service" agreements AKA End User License Agreements ("EULA") that providers impose for use of their product or service.
A piece of communality these "agreements" share is that they are usually very one-sided, with all of the benefits accruing to the service provider, while placing most, if not all, of the burdens on the consumer. Provisions dealing with choice of law and jurisdiction, mandatory and binding arbitration, attorney fees and costs only for the provider, as well as reduction in statue of limitation periods are just a few of the onerous provisions the consumer is forced to accept.This is no longer true at least in the State of Washington.
The Washington Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a consumer and against AT&T and it service agreement. The ars technica website has the full story here. This is truly a case of David vs. Goliath, with David taking down the giant with his sling and pebble.
In reaching its decision, the Washington Supreme Court looked at a number of issues including unconscionability and Federal Preemption. This Court determined that Washington State law was not preempted in this instance. In response to arguments that allowing this case to move forward in Washington would place a burden on AT&T to deal with individual state laws, the Court opined: