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Donotpay's endgame: a trade union for consumers to push back against abusive corporations

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Joshua Browder created Donotpay as a teenager at Stanford: originally it was a chatbot that helped you beat traffic tickets, but it has since expanded (thanks to an infusion of venture capital) into a Swiss Army Knife of automated consumer advocacy that can do everything from sue Equifax on your behalf to help you access homeless services to getting you a rebate when your plane ticket's price goes down after you've purchased it. In an interview with the Will I Save? blog -- which documents experiences with Donotpay -- Browder articulates his vision for the service: a "consumers union" (no relation) that fights corrupt corporations and oppressive state action. Browder -- a multigenerational activist whose father was a principal advocate for the Magnitsky Act -- says he looks for problems that are experienced by at least 50,000,000 Americans at a time, and then prioritizes automating solutions to them. "I think that the average person doesn't really have an advocate to fight for them. The short-term vision is just to build really useful products that help people fight back. The long-term vision is almost a consumer union where we can actually go to these companies and say, 'We have 5 million DoNotPay users and 5 million of your customers. If you don't start treating them better, we'll switch them to your competitor overnight.' With numbers there's lots of power and I think that could really help people fight and get leverage." Why is Browder so bent on helping people fight the establishment? Read the rest

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