David began with a thought experiment: what if people took promises seriously? We saw businesses all around us breaking their promises and people powerless to enforce them.
The good news is that lying to consumers is generally illegal, especially if you reach into their pockets while doing so. Laws about contracts, advertising, fraud and unfair trade practices address many types of broken promises. But even if something is illegal, most of us don’t have time to research the law or money to hire a lawyer—especially over a few bucks.
If a company stole one dollar from each of its customers, it would amount to a huge sum, but no one customer would care enough to fight back.
Class action lawsuits used to be a solution to this problem. By joining together many customers who each suffered a small loss, they can make a company halt its unlawful practices and pay back the millions that it collectively took from its many customers.
But in a series of Supreme Court cases starting in 2011, companies like AT&T got permission to ban their customers from bringing class actions lawsuits.
For two-thirds of U.S. households, a handful of providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable are their only realistic choice for cable and internet service. These big companies have all taken a cue from AT&T and banned their customers from using class actions.
By insulating themselves from accountability in both the marketplace and the courts, these companies have achieved virtual impunity. They rank at the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys but are as profitable as ever.
While there will always be an important role for lawyers in vindicating consumers’ rights, they are often priced out of reach for all but the most pressing matters. With rates starting at $200 an hour, a lawyer may well cost more than the refund they’re seeking.
David’s mission is to build cost-effective tools for resolving everyday disputes.
Every time you use David’s software to demand that a company keep its promises, you add your voice to a growing chorus calling for fair treatment under the law.