POLITICO has learned that tech companies are pushing arbitration marketing to try and boost their image as arbitrators.
The tech companies and the Federal Arbitration Service (FAS) are partnering to develop a new program to provide “a broad and comprehensive service to arbitrators” to better educate consumers about their rights and responsibilities, according to an FAS spokesperson.
The new program will launch later this year and is intended to help tech companies reach consumers more quickly on consumer disputes.FAS spokesperson David Buss told Politico that arbitration is not a new concept, but has only recently gained popularity.
“The concept of arbitration has been around for quite some time,” Buss said.
“But we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of consumers that are using arbitration in the last few years.”
Arbitrators’ ability to award monetary damages to consumers has grown exponentially over the last decade, with many cases ending in settlements and some cases leading to consumer judgments.
But Buss pointed out that the number is still lower than the traditional arbitration process in the United States, where the arbitrator must prove that a consumer is at fault.
“There are a lot of people who are doing it out of frustration, for example, or because they don’t feel that the process works,” Bss said.
“Arbitrations are not a replacement for the traditional system, and they are not intended to do that,” he added.
The program will allow consumers to access a list of arbitrators, who can then call and reach out to consumers if they feel they need a mediator.
The FAS said that it expects that its new program could lead to a decrease in consumer complaints and complaints that the arbitrators are not doing their job.
The new program is designed to “ensure that the vast majority of consumers are receiving a fair and unbiased service from their arbitrators,” Buses said.
The industry is working to improve its transparency on consumer matters and to promote a more “open and transparent” arbitration process.
The technology companies are working to develop new tools to improve consumer education, including the creation of an arbitration database that would allow consumers, especially women, to easily find an arbitrator and see who they can contact.
The companies have also said they are working on ways to make arbitration easier for consumers.
The Arbitration Consumer Advocacy Alliance is working on “more consumer-friendly tools” to help consumers make an informed decision, Buss explained.