CLDDS consumer protection attorney, Gary Ahladianakis, Esq., was able to procure a reversal by the Appellate Division of the trial court’s ruling requiring a client to proceed to arbitration based upon an arbitration provision that was buried in the “Terms and Conditions” page on HomeAdvisor’s website. In this appeal, the Appellate Division ruled on the validity of an arbitration provision embedded in those terms and conditions that “could” be accessed via a hyperlink before a consumer submitted their request for HomeAdvisor’s services through their website. Because HomeAdvisor could not demonstrate that the CLDDS client was on notice of the arbitration provision prior to submitting her service request through the website, the court held that HomeAdvisor failed to establish that the plaintiff was even aware of the arbitration provision.
Applying a fact-intensive inquiry under the applicable legal standard, the appellate panel found that the plaintiff did not knowingly and voluntarily agree to waive her right to resolve her disputes against HomeAdvisor in court. Accordingly, in a unanimous decision, the 3-judge appellate panel reversed the trial court’s order enforcing the arbitration provision and remanded the case for reinstatement of the client’s complaint in the trial court.
The fact that the Appellate Division’s decision was approved for publication means that this decision is not only binding on the court in this case but all New Jersey trial courts are bound to follow this ruling going forward.