Legislation would prevent Amtrak from requiring forced arbitration agreements

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Legislation recently re-introduced in the U.S. House would prohibit Amtrak from requiring forced arbitration agreements from passengers.

If the bill, the Ending Passenger Rail Forced Arbitration Act, becomes law, customers would again have the ability to sue Amtrak in U.S. courts in the event of safety issues.

Amtrak revised its policies in 2019 to state that legal action against the company must be resolved through a mandatory arbitration process and prohibits customers from joining class-action suits.

This means that customers waive their right to sue Amtrak in a U.S. court for any reason with the purchase of an Amtrak ticket. The policy also applies to anyone whose tickets were bought for them.

The forced arbitration agreement applies to all possible claims that could be brought, including catastrophic injury and wrongful death, discrimination, and ticket disputes.

Airlines are prohibited from mandatory forced arbitration as the practice institutes high fees and extended timelines and discourages customers from filing complaints for smaller violations.

U.S. Reps. Conor Lamb (D-PA), House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure member, Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials chairman, and Marilyn Strickland (D-WA) introduced the bill.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.