Inside this Star Wars blanket's box, a card informing you that you've just waived your right to sue

When you open the box for a Storm Trooper snuggie blanket, you'll discover a card telling you that by buying the blanket, you've waived your right to sue the manufacturer and will subject yourself to binding arbitration if your blanket gives you cancer or burns you to death or any of the other bad things textiles can do.

If you don't like the arbitration clause, you can "opt out" by returning the blanket within 14 days (so if you give it as a gift and the recipient takes more than 14 days to open it, that delay constitutes an "agreement" they didn't know they were making).

A lawyer with Public Citizen doesn't believe this is enforceable — but if it is, we're in trouble.

There are two concerns with the Snuggie arbitration agreement. First is the typical forced-arbitration problem of stripping consumers' of their Constitutional right to a day in court. Imagine a product contains a chemical that makes large numbers of people ill. Those people should be able to not only sue in a court of law, but because they are all making the same claims against the same company, they should be able to join their complaints together into a single class action. Instead, under an arbitration clause, each affected customer would need to go into arbitration on their own.

The second concern involves the potential for this to set a precedent that could lead to other retail products springing the arbitration surprise on consumers. If you can enforce a contract by simply including it inside a box, what's to stop companies from putting anything on that contract and trying to force you into arbitration if you dispute it?

Clattenburg gives the theoretical example of a box of cereal containing a slip of paper that includes some completely outlandish declaration like, "You agree to pay $50 to Company X. If you don't opt-out within two weeks, you owe Company X $50."

"That would be ridiculous," admits Clattenburg. "But it's no different than including an arbitration provision in a consumer product with no reasonable notice of that provision's existence."

Your New Stormtrooper Snuggie Comes With A Surprise: It Strips You Of Your Right To File A Lawsuit
[Chris Morran/Consumerist]