Today's article describes the "soaring number of" arbitration clauses in consumer and employment contracts as the "center of a far-reaching power play orchestrated by American corporations"" "to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices."
Gee, I thought no longer doing business with companies that displease me was another option that's been working well.
Seriously, class actions seem to me a mixed bag for consumers, especially consumers who don't realize they're being damaged by sometimes-complex "illegal or deceitful business practices," so I'm skeptical of both progressives who say class actions are the only thing protecting us from disaster and businesses who say class actions are a disaster.
I don't believe the Times article cites any data suggesting consumers fare worse in arbitration than in individual (as opposed to class) litigation.
More on arbitration and class actions
Good commentary on the NY Times articles by North Carolina Law Professor Mark Weidemaier