Omri Ben-Shahar, "One-Way Contracts"
What if consumer contracts were legally enforceable only against the consumers, but not against the business? The idea of "one-way contracts," to which consumers are bound but the businesses are not, is offered as a basis to explore alternative, non-legal consumer protections. Despite weakening legal protections of consumers, the one-way contracts regime has the potential to improve consumers' well being. In fact, in many area consumer contracts are already disguised "one-way contracts." The conclusion is that the focus among consumer protection advocates on enhancing access to, and the scope of, legal remedies may be misguided.
Omri Ben-Shahar is Frank and Bernice J. Greenberg Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded October 13, 2009, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas series.