PayPal has sent an e-mail alert to its customers informing them that as of November 1, PayPal will take away users’ right to sue the company in court. Instead, disputes will have to be resolved through arbitration, and customers will not be able to participate in a class-action suit.

Although consumer activists say the move reflects a disturbing trend by U.S. businesses to avoid legal liability in cases of wrongdoing, many businesses and their lawyers argue that arbitration is a more efficient way to resolve customer problems.

“Consumers have an opportunity to get a dispute resolved a lot quicker and receive full redress through arbitration—unlike the courts, where a consumer could be part of a class action that goes on years and years and years, and by the end of the day, pays them nothing anyway,” says Alan S. Kaplinsky, a Ballard Spahr partner in Philadelphia who has helped hundreds of companies write arbitration clauses into their consumer contracts.