While all parties can benefit from using ADR, online ADR offers additional advantages to certain types of businesses and individuals. These are the ones who are likely to incur extra time, money and inconvenience when using traditional ADR or litigation. Some common examples of this include the following:
- Businesses with a dispersed workforce.This includes multi-office companies and those with off-site/field workers, such as those involved in trucking, manufacturing, retail, utilities, rental companies and many others. It can be very time-consuming and expensive to litigate or arbitrate a dispute where the witnesses may be in different locations or different time zones. Online ADR doesn’t require travel, so it is much more cost-effective for these businesses.
- Companies engaged in ecommerce.Businesses and consumers can be located anywhere which again raises a concern about travel costs. In addition, companies often must find counsel licensed in multiple states if they litigate or use traditional” show up in person” arbitration. Online ADR eliminates this concern. No travel is involved and typically, any attorney can handle the matter regardless of where they practice law. And, let’s face facts: it just doesn’t make sense for a Web-based business to engage in brick and mortar dispute resolution.
- Banks/credit card companies and consumers.Businesses and individuals spend millions of dollars a year on attorney fees and litigation costs due to bank and credit card disputes. Customer service hotlines and support emails can only go so far, and when that fails, both parties feel as if their only remaining option is litigation. Online ADR provides an effective route to resolving bank and credit card disputes in a timely manner.
- Insurance companies and policy holders. Online ADR is a timely and cost-effective way to settle claims and/or disputes between insurance companies and policyholders. Disagreements between these parties often occur because of miscommunications in policy coverage or procedure; and, in many cases, the negligence of one of the parties or their insured rides on the coattails of accidents. This is a stressful situation for all parties and the amount of time and money required for litigation is often more hassle and expense than it’s worth. As explained in a paper[I] by ARS Chairman George Friedman, online ADR is an option that takes care of both these concerns.
- Municipalities and their contractors, vendors and citizens.Conflicts with governmental agencies and/or municipalities can be complicated and exhausting. No matter the cause of the dispute, the nature of government means that litigation is especially difficult and going to court could mean not reaching a resolution for months. That’s thousands of dollars in court and attorney fees and hours of valuable time wasted. In addition, municipalities do not want to be viewed as antagonizing local residents. The best option for all parties is to reach a resolution as quickly as possible and online ADR does that.
- Small businesses.Courts require that companies be represented by counsel. However, with online ADR, a small business owner can represent him/herself and save the costs of a lawyer. In addition, the whole process is much simpler and easier than other forms of dispute resolution.
Online ADR can benefit almost any party but is especially useful for those who are looking for a fast, affordable and convenient way to resolve a dispute. ARS provides the only Complete Online ADR (C-ODR) solution. For more examples of who can benefit from online ADR, read about ARS’ programs for individuals and businesses or contact us for a consultation.
[i]Technology, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and the Insurance Industry: the Future Has Arrived (Really this Time), published in the inaugural issue of the Journal of American Law