Arbitration is a proceeding in which a dispute is resolved by an impartial adjudicator whose decision the parties to the dispute have agreed, or legislation has decreed, will be final and binding. There are limited rights of review and appeal of arbitration awards. Section 49 U.S.C. Section 375.211. Arbitration is optional for the consumer shipper and not required under federal law.

Arbitration Process:

Arbitration is a time-tested, cost-effective alternative to litigation. Arbitration is the submission of a dispute to one or more impartial persons the opportunity to present their cases and allows a neutral third party arbitrator to make a final and binding decision as to the merits of each side’s case. After the initial filing fees have been paid by each party and the neutral arbitrator selected by the parties, the initiating party or “Claimant” must submit a written summary of their legal position and factual claims. The initial written arbitration summary must include all supporting documentation pertaining to the claim. Upon receipt of the Claimant’s written arbitration summary and supporting documents, the responding party or “Respondent” will have 30 days to file their responsive arbitration brief and supporting documentation. Additional deadlines and timetables are subject to the neutral arbitrator’s discretion.

Initiating Arbitration:

A preliminary hearing will be conducted by the arbitrator, this is the first opportunity for the parties and arbitrator to discuss directly the substantive issues of the case. Any party may initiate the process of arbitration by mail, or faxing the referral form to the arbitration Administrator. Once the form is received, the arbitration Administrator will contact the pertaining parties, confirm their participation in the arbitration process, provide the appropriate information and make the final arrangements for the arbitration.

Arbitration Fees:

Each party bears all of his/her or it’s own costs associated with arbitration. Some of the benefits to the arbitration alternative is often faster and it is less expensive than traditional courtroom litigation. Each party is responsible for 50% of the costs associated with securing the arbitrator and 100% of their own expenses, including but not limited to attorney fees. The administrative costs for an arbitration are as follows: There is a $325 filing fee and a supplemental charge of $50 for each additional unrepresented party or additional separately-represented party in excess of two parties will apply. Long distance telephone, fax charges and incidental costs that may be incurred by the Administrator shall be billed to the parties as additional costs. The cost of the conference call format will be submitted as an incidental cost. The arbitrator’s fee and costs are as follows: Each individual arbitrator will set their own hourly rates for their services. Fees that may exceed $300 per hour for the arbitrator. Subject to the terms of The Transportation ADR Council, Inc. administrative and arbitration fees may be required to be paid in advance.

Arbitration Effects:

If the arbitration alternative is chosen, then any decision made by the arbitrator will be binding. Additionally, an arbitration decision may not be appealed in a court of law. If the consumer shippers claim is for $10,000 or less, then the moving company will be compelled to submit to neutral arbitration. If the consumers shippers claim is $10,000 or more, then the moving company has the option to consent to the arbitration process or not. Under the terms and conditions of arbitration, the Arbitrators decision will be based exclusively on the United States federal law governing interstate transportation of household goods without regard to conflicting State laws or regulations.

Selecting An Arbitrator:

Once all parties agree upon an arbitration process, all parties are permitted to propose candidates to act as a sole arbitrator. Selecting an arbitrator may be one of the most crucial decisions a party will take.