The Hudson Valley Credit Union is changing its terms of service which substantially impacts how members can pursue legal action against them in a court of law.

A letter was sent out to HVCU members this week outlining a major change to its arbitration policy. The new clause automatically goes into effect on June 30 and takes away many rights of account holders to seek legal action in all "past, present, and future claims" against the credit union.

Middletown New York, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, Kingston
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What the HVCU Arbitration Agreement Changes

According to the Hudson Valley Credit Union, members will no longer be able to seek several legal remedies if a dispute arises against them. The new clause eliminates members' right to a trial by jury, any court case outside of small claims and the ability to participate in a class-action lawsuit against HVCU.

The clause specifically itemizes each of these items in a section aptly named "rights you are giving up". They include:

1. Have juries decide Disputes.
2. Have courts, other than small-claims courts, decide Disputes.
3. Serve as a private attorney general or in a representative capacity.
4. Join or consolidate a Dispute with disputes by other parties.
5. Bring or be a class member in a class action claim or lawsuit, including as a
representative or member, or class arbitration.

 

Additionally, the document eliminates members' rights "to bring or be a class member in a class action claim, arbitration, or lawsuit, including as a representative or member."

Hyde Park, Kingston, Middletown, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie
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Instead, members automatically agree to go directly to arbitration. One of two neutral third parties, selected by the credit union, will oversee any dispute and come to a binding resolution.

The clause clearly states that if any member brings a lawsuit against the HVCU, the company can immediately stop the legal proceedings.

If one Party begins or threatens a lawsuit, or files a counterclaim to an existing lawsuit, that is covered by this arbitration provision, the other Party may demand arbitration, including through court papers such as a motion to compel arbitration. Once an arbitration demand is made, no lawsuit can be brought and any existing lawsuit must stop.

The full arbitration clause can be read here.

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How to Opt-Out of HVCU's New Arbitration Agreement

Members who take the time to read through this legal document will discover that the new clause will automatically go into effect unless they opt-out.

In order to do so, members must send a signed notice to the company no later than June 30, 2024. The notice must include your name as listed on the account, your mailing address and all account numbers and information.

The notice needs to be sent to the credit union at P.O. Box 1231 Poughkeepsie, NY 12602.

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