Dropbox has created an online opt-out form that only takes a few seconds to fill out. You only have 30 days from the date you agree to the new Dropbox terms (or 30 days from the start of service for users who sign up after the new terms go into effect) to file the opt-out request.
If you don’t opt out, you are giving up the right as a Dropbox customer to bring or participate in a class-action lawsuit against Dropbox. You can only bring a lawsuit in small claims court. All other disputes must be handled in binding arbitration. And all complaints — no matter how many people are impacted — are handled on an individual basis.
The ban on class-action lawsuits means that each customer’s dispute must be arbitrated on its own. So even though Dropbox will have to go through the hassle of dealing with each instance of a dispute, the total number of customers who will be willing to enter into the arbitration process is inevitably only a fraction of the total number of affected customers.
Forced arbitration clauses have been on the rise since the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in AT&T v Concepcion, in which the telecom giant successfully argued that the inclusion of a few words about binding arbitration buried in the back of a massive contract were sufficient for taking away a customers’ right to sue or seek a class action against the company.
Since then, dozens of major companies — from banks to wireless companies to e-commerce and cable TV — have either added such clauses or tweaked existing language to reinforce how few rights their customers have.