Wednesday, September 3, 2014

AAA's New Consumer Arbitration Rules

This month, the American Arbitration Association's new Consumer Arbitration Rules became effective. According to AAA, these rules apply when arbitration clauses exist in agreements between individual consumers and businesses where a business has standardized, systematic application of arbitration clauses to its customers and where the terms and conditions of the purchase of standardized, consumable goods or services are non-negotiable or primarily non-negotiable in most or all of its terms, conditions, features, or choices. The product or service must be for personal or household use. The AAA will have discretion to apply the Consumer Arbitration Rules and parties can bring any disputes concerning the application or non-application to the attention of the arbitrator. Businesses are required to submit their consumer arbitration clause to the AAA for review and determination that the clause substantially and materially complies with the due process standards of the AAA’s Consumer Due Process Protocol and the amended Consumer Rules. Businesses will only be included in the registry after the AAA reviews a submitted clause, receives the required fee and determines that it will arbitrate a consumer-related dispute under the clause. The fee has been lowered to $500 for clauses submitted in 2015. AAA will charge an annual renewal fee starting in 2016. Each variation of the business’s arbitration clause must be separately registered. If a business has not registered its consumer clause prior to the filing of a consumer case, the AAA will require that the business register its clause at that time for an additional fee of $250 for an expedited review. Additionally, any subsequent revisions to a currently registered arbitration clause must be resubmitted for review. A fee of $500 will be assessed to review revisions. See more here-- and