|Resolution of Disputes with Interstate Household Goods Carriers
When a customer contracts with a mover to transport household goods across state lines, federal law requires that the mover's contract include a provision for arbitration as a method of resolving any disputes that arise. Although the arbitration provision is required, the customer may resort to the court system and is not obligated to first go through the arbitration process.
Requirements of an Arbitration Program
The mover must explain the arbitration program to the customer, including the procedures involved, a statement of the costs that might apply, and the legal effect of using the program. The program itself must be accessible to the customer so that the mover does not have any advantage because of its location or the customer's relocation. The customer may obtain from the mover the forms that are required in order to submit a dispute to arbitration.
The persons who are selected to act as arbitrators must be neutral to the parties involved in the dispute and must be capable of resolving the matters presented. Unless the moving contract or the jurisdiction provides otherwise, arbitrators can be laypersons, attorneys, or certified arbitrators. A list of persons who are qualified to act as arbitrators may be available through the American Arbitration Association and state bar associations, among other groups. The customer is not required to pay more than one-half of the cost of hiring the arbitrator.
An arbitrator must render a decision within 60 days of receiving a written notification of a dispute. The decision may include remedies that are appropriate to the circumstances of the case. The 60-day period may be extended for a reasonable time if either of the parties does not promptly provide information to the arbitrator.
Binding Effect of Arbitration
If the customer requests arbitration, he will be bound by arbitration for claims of $ 5,000 or less. The customer will be bound by arbitration for claims of $ 5,000 or more only if the customer requests arbitration and the mover agrees to it.
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