Samsung Fails to Compel Arbitration on Galaxy S4

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A class action lawsuit claiming Samsung’s Galaxy S4 phone isn’t as fast or high-performing as the company claims will not be sent to an arbitrator, a federal judge ruled.
     U.S. District Judge James Donato denied Samsung’s motion to compel arbitration, concluding that no arbitration agreement existed between the parties after a Verizon salesperson unboxed the phone and handed it to name plaintiff Daniel Norcia without also giving him the warranty booklet, which contained the arbitration provisions.
     In February Daniel Norcia sued Samsung, alleging the company “intentionally programmed the Galaxy S4 to fool benchmark apps and create false perceptions regarding the speed and performance of those devices.”
     Benchmarking apps assess how well devices work, and compare the score to similar devices.
     Samsung moved to compel arbitration, pointing to an arbitration provision in the phone’s warranty. Page 70 of the Samsung warranty booklet says, “All disputes with Samsung arising in any way from this limited warranty or the sale, condition or performance of the products shall be resolved exclusively through final and binding arbitration, and not by a court or jury,” Donato’s order says.
     Norcia says he never knew about that provision, because when he bought the phone he only took the hardware and left the box and booklet in the store.
     Samsung argued that Norcia must have received notice of the arbitration contract because he said in his complaint that he looked at Samsung’s website, and the website contains a link to the warranty.
     Norcia later said the complaint’s reference to the web page was a “mistake,” the order says.
     Judge Donato ruled that though Norcia voluntarily declined the box, and must be treated as though he received it, that doesn’t constitute a contract for arbitration.
     “The inconspicuous placement of the arbitration provisions in the warranty booklet, and Samsung’s failure to inform customers in any way about the proposal to require arbitration, bar a finding that a valid and enforceable contract was formed,” Donato wrote.
     The judge also ruled that Samsung’s product web page “is not sufficient by itself to constitute inquiry notice.”
     Donato then directed Norcia to file an accurate amended complaint with no further inaccuracies.

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