What is arbitration?
Arbitration is a process of settling disputes informally and privately. Over 20 years ago Better Business Bureaus began to use arbitration in a new area – in settling disputes between business and their customers.
Thousands of business-customer disputes have been arbitrated by BBBs. Many businesses, large and small, are pre-committing their operations to the arbitration of customer complaints that they and the BBB cannot resolve informally. For the business, arbitration provides a convenient cost-saving process, before an impartial “judge”. Even businesses which pride themselves on almost always satisfying their customer complaints are supporting consumer arbitration simply because they believe it is a worthwhile community service that reduces tensions in the marketplace.
Consumers, too, are quick to recognize the advantages of arbitration. It offers them a low cost forum where they can present their grievances in an unhurried and informal atmosphere that is conducive to a fair decision.
Principles of consumer arbitration
● Strictly voluntary
● Used only when all informal efforts to resolve disputes have failed.
● Maximum involvement of consumer and business and the process.
● Private hearings with confidential results.
● Held at convenience of parties in dispute.
● Availability of product or on-site inspection.
● Informal process which gives parties broad opportunities to present their cases.
● Consistent with law.
● A broad-based pool of volunteer arbitrators drawn from the local community.
● An arbitrator chosen by a mutual selection process.
● Quick, low cost resolution.
How does the arbitration process work?
1. The complaint
Customer takes complain to business. Only if this fails does it go to the BBB.
2. Better business bureau
BBB tries to resolve case informally - if not, arbitration is offered.
3. Agreement to arbitrate
Parties sign agreements that define the specific issues to be arbitrated by the BBB program.
4 .Choosing an arbitrator
The parties will either select a single arbitrator from the pool of volunteers, or use a selection process chosen by the BBB.
* The BBB will insure that no conflict of interest exists.
If necessary, an inspection of the product, repair job or construction site is conducted with the BBB furnishing technical expertise as needed.
6. The proceedings
Informal proceedings are before an arbitrator. Both parties may be represented, have witnesses and give supporting evidence.
7. The award
The decision may resolve all issues in favor of one party or it may be “split” between the parties. If the parties have agreed on binding arbitration, in most states, a court of law will enforce an award without rehearing the case.
To learn more about BBB arbitration services, call (916) 443-6843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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