What is the name of the company and/or product? Where is it found online?
CrowdSuit can be found at www.crowdsuit.com.
What problem does this solve?
A new take on consumer protection – CrowdSuit attempts to hold companies responsible for exploiting their customers.
I learned of the problem during my second year of law school when reading the Supreme Court decision in the case AT&T v. Concepcion. The case basically allows people to waive their right to be a part of a class in class action lawsuits. This is bad news for consumers when they get cheated and have relatively small damages. It creates a situation where someone can’t sue to recoup their loss individually because the damages are below the filing/attorney costs and they can’t sue as part of a class action because they waived that right. CrowdSuit is the only way for many people in these types of situations to vindicate their legal rights. Additionally, if CrowdSuit is successful, it donates to great charities.
Who is on the team?
CrowdSuit is owned by Ben Kinney and works closely with various law firms on the litigation side.
What is the specific technology used?
CrowdSuit aggregates legal claims through the use of claim assignments. By using this process we are allowed to turn net negative value claims into net positive value claims. CrowdSuit has filed for a patent on this process.
What is the size/scope of your market and how will you scale?
The problem exists in most consumer contracts (look for the arbitration clause), many employment contracts, and many merchant contracts. CrowdSuit is currently focussed on consumer contracts with cell phone service providers. Providers have been taking advantage of their customers through small fees tacked on the end of the bill. Until CrowdSuit, those fees have gone unchecked by the courts because they are small amounts and customers waived their right to be a part of a class. This a problem for hundreds of millions of customers and permits the cell phone service providers to make billions of dollars by wrongfully taking it from their customers.
What is your revenue model?
CrowdSuit accepts legal assignments from customers of cell phone service providers. In exchange we take the providers to court. CrowdSuit only makes money if we prevail on these claims. If we do prevail, after costs, half of all awards goes to charities that assignors chose when they assigned their claim and the other half goes to CrowdSuit in order to fund future claims.
What is your greatest strength?
CrowdSuit has two big strengths. First, it is the only solution to a problem that has existed for about four years. The problem is pervasive and is actually eroding the strength of contracts. A deal is a deal, right? CrowdSuit’s goal is to hold corporations responsible when they don’t play fair and take advantage of their customers.
Second, CrowdSuit’s strength is in its simplicity. This is a huge undertaking, but it is incredibly simple for individuals to help us help themselves. Users only need to fill out a few questions, choose a great charity, and let us do the heavy lifting in court.
What is your biggest weakness?
CrowdSuit works by bringing together similarly situated people who have been wronged. Because the individual wrongs are so small we need tons of people to sign up in order to make a difference in the way corporations behave.
What is one resource you could use that would take this to the next level?
Publicity. We need journalists to write about the problem and the solution. We need individuals to like us and share us on Facebook and Twitter. We want people to look over their contracts and see that it is their problem too. The bigger the audience the greater the impact we will have and that benefits everyone.
Is there anything else you would like to add?