At DeMars & Associates, Ltd., we know that misunderstandings, conflict, and disputes happen.  They happen between people they happen between businesses, and they happen between business and people.  We understand that dealing with disagreements between consumers and businesses can be difficult, confusing, and frustrating.

We specialize in designing programs to help you resolve your disputes quickly and easily so that you can get back to business.

We draw on our nearly 30 years of experience with Alternative Dispute Resolution to develop the most up-to-date, professional, and effective programs.  We design to fit your needs whether it be online, face-to-face, or somewhere in between.


Online Dispute Resolution

Our NetNeutrals.com and NetNeutrals EU platforms can be suited to fit a variety of dispute resolution needs. 

We also develop custom Online Dispute Resolution Platforms to fit your specific business model.  Having an Online Dispute Resolution platform available to your customers is a proven value added service.

to learn more about how Online Dispute Resolution can work for you.

How Online Dispute Resolution Works...

Dispute Resolution Programs: Common Varieties and Components

Online and Face-to-Face

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process in which two or more parties with a dispute involve a neutral third-party who facilitates discussion between the parties and assists them in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution. In mediation, the third party may not impose a settlement on the parties.

Mediation offers several benefits including:

  • Less costly and time consuming alternative to litigation
  • Provides an opportunity for parties to vent and be heard
  • Parties are more likely to uphold & find satisfaction in an agreement they craft

Because mediation involves the preservation of relationships, it is a particularly useful tool in retaining and recovering customers. Mediation allows the parties to craft an agreement that may contain solutions that are not available through court.

Typically a mediation will begin with an introductory statement by the mediator, followed by a statement of the problem by each party. The discussion will then move to gathering information and identifying the problems. Once the issues are out on the table, the mediation moves into a bargaining phase where options are generated, and eventually an agreement is reached or the parties reach an impasse. If the mediation ends without resolution, the dispute may be suited for arbitration.

Arbitration

Arbitration is a process in which two or more parties with a dispute turn the matter over to a neutral, third-party decision maker. The principles of arbitration incorporate the notions of balance and fairness and require that:

  • The decision be made by a neutral party
  • All parties have the same rights and responsibilities
  • The arbitrator demonstrates both the fact and appearance of objectivity
  • The arbitrator avoids any conflicts of interest
  • The arbitrator operates within the rules of the program
  • The arbitrator decides every matter set before him, expressed in clear and understandable language

Arbitration programs may be structured to use one decision maker or a panel of decision makers. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages; sometimes, what is an advantage to one consumer may be a disadvantage to the next. The arbitration program's policies determine which system will be used.

Based on our experience and observations, here is a brief comparison of the basic differences between the two systems.

Location, Proximity to the Parties, Convenience

Single arbitrator process:

Allows meetings to be held in a variety of locations, as long as the location is agreeable to the parties and to the arbitrator.

Panel arbitration process:

Meetings are regularly scheduled at the same location. Parties know in advance the date, time and place of the hearing; however, it may not be convenient or close to some parties.

Scheduling

Single arbitrator process:

Scheduling is coordinated with the parties and arbitrator.

Panel arbitration process:

With a set panel, the scheduling may be completed well in advance since all arbitrators must commit to attending the hearings, for example, the third Wednesday of each month. If panels are assembled as needed, the hearings are scheduled at the mutual convenience of the parties and the arbitrators.

Decision Process

Single arbitrator process:

The decision is made by one individual; it may be made quickly and only requires the one arbitrator to agree on the terms and components of the decision. Mailing the decision may be delayed, depending on the individual arbitrator's schedule.

Panel arbitration process:

The decision is made by the panel as a whole, often by consensus, and may be more time consuming. Because the decision is made while at the meeting, and the terms and components are agreed upon by the panel, the decision is often ready sooner for mailing to the parties. Panel decisions are considered to be more consistent over time than single arbitrator decisions. If arbitrators are paid, panel programs will cost more.

Arbitrator Selection

Single arbitrator process:

In some programs the administrative staff selects the arbitrator at random from a pool of its arbitrators; another program may provide a list of arbitrators, and the parties each strike a set number. The administrative staff then randomly selects an arbitrator from the remaining pool.

Panel arbitration process:

Sometimes, the program assigns the formation of the arbitration panel to the administrative staff, and each panel member serves for a set period of time. Some programs require that specific capabilities or perspectives be represented. For example, it may be decided that the quality of the decision will be improved if the panel includes a consumer perspective. Other programs provide a list of arbitrators - each party selects one from the list, and then those two select a third arbitrator who serves as the panel chair.

While these descriptions are obviously abbreviated, they are offered as a way of demonstrating a few of the numerous differences and variations in arbitration programs.