By Lance Soskin, Founder and President of eQuibbly.
eQuibbly is a web application created to help companies resolve their disputes quickly and fairly online. It’s known formally as Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). Disputes are resolved entirely online either via mediation or arbitration in a secure private virtual room. Parties can opt for the outcome to be legally-binding and enforceable in court in almost any country.
If you have already experienced the great pleasure of going to court, especially for a full-blown trial, there’s no reason to read any further as you’re already well-aware that almost any other method of resolving a dispute or conflict is better than the traditional justice system.
Once you hire an attorney, it’s extremely difficult to get away with paying anything less than a few thousand dollars for pre-trial procedures, even if it is for small claims court. And if your case goes to trial, you’re almost certainly going to be out-of-pocket at least $10,000 and often times tens of thousands of dollars. If that isn’t reason enough to convince you to try an alternate route, the time commitment and aggravation involved in pursing litigation surely are.
One alternate route that is growing in popularity is online dispute resolution using arbitration or mediation.
If you meet one or more of the criteria below, it may be time for you to take a closer look at whether online arbitration or mediation may be right for you:
- Negotiation has failed. You have tried to resolve your dispute or complaint on the phone, by email, or face-to-face and were unable to reach a satisfactory solution.
- Meeting in-person is inconvenient. You and the opposing Party live far enough away from one another that there is no convenient place to meet without wasting a lot of time traveling.
- Cost of litigation may exceed your claim. Unless you are independently wealthy, there is little point suing if the cost of litigating might be more than the amount you recover at the end of the ordeal. Many plaintiffs over-estimate their chances of winning and the amount they will recover if they do win. If you’re looking for some sense of moral victory regardless of the cost, keep in mind the old saying about ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’; it will likely ring true a year later when you’re still trying to make your way through the justice system on your last dime.
- Confidentiality is important. You would like to keep your disputes and your confidential information private. The courts in the U.S. and Canada are open to the public and almost everything you file with the court is public record and subject to public disclosure (other than personal information that can lead to identity fraud).
- You have shopped or socialized online. The online world is part of your everyday life. If you’re comfortable shopping, socializing, and commenting on news articles online, you’re technologically savvy enough to make use of online dispute resolution.