The Most Important Consumer Victory You Know Nothing About

Did you hear about this? Probably not, but it’s a pretty great thing.

TIME

A week ago, the FTC issued a ruling that was hailed by consumer advocates as a victory for car buyers and owners everywhere — but this is a bullet most consumers probably don’t even know they dodged.

If you have no idea what this is about, that’s not surprising. The agency’s action followed a review of the “Interpretations of Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act,” which, admittedly, sounds like a snoozer. This ruling covers a few different elements of car warranties. In brief, they need to be easily understandable and accessible to customers, and they have to let owners use parts and mechanics of their choice (rather than stipulating only “authorized” parts or technicians).

But the part that has groups like the National Consumer Law Center and the National Association of Consumer Advocates so excited pertains to binding arbitration, which is one of those phrases that tends to make people’s eyes glaze over…

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