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Entries in mediation (46)

Sunday
May312009

To mediate or to arbitrate?

A few weeks ago, I served as the arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau’s Autoline program, which helps to resolve Lemon Law claims.  Both parties  (the consumer and the manufacturer’s representative) arrived with appropriate documents and exhibits, gave relevant testimony, and made coherent arguments.  It was an interesting case, but ultimately I had to rule for one party or the other.  Finding that the alleged defect did not materially affect the safety, value or operation of the vehicle, I ruled for the manufacturer.  So the manufacturer won and the consumer lost, right?  Not really.  The manufacturer had offered no compensation, services or replacement, so the consumer had nothing to lose.  On the other hand, the consumer is now unlikely to purchase a car manufactured by this automaker ever again.  Seems like a Pyrrhic victory to me.  If the parties had been amenable to mediation, a win-win situation might have been found.  The BBB does offer such services.  Too bad the parties went for the win-lose alternative.

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