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NCJ Number: 48233 Find in a Library
Title: NONTRADITIONAL REMEDIES FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF CONSUMER DISPUTES
Journal: TEMPLE LAW QUARTERLY  Volume:49  Dated:(1975-1976)  Pages:385-427
Author(s): ANON
Corporate Author: Temple University
School of Law
Temple Law Review
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 43
Sponsoring Agency: Temple University
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: CURRENT AVAILABLE CONSUMER REDRESS MECHANISMS ARE REVIEWED, AND A MODEL FOR STATE SUPPORTED MEDIATION-ARBITRATION CENTERS IS PROPOSED.
Abstract: SMALL CLAIMS COURTS, BUSINESS AFFILIATED REDRESS MECHANISMS (BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU AND CONSUMER ACTION PANELS), THE ROLE OF THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT IN RESOLVING CONSUMER DISPUTES, AND THE OPERATIONS OF PUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS, COMMUNITY SELF-HELP ACTIVITIES, AND CONSUMER HOTLINES ARE DISCUSSED. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THESE ENTERPRISES OFTEN IGNORE CONSUMER CLAIMS OR PRESENT BEWILDERING, TIME-CONSUMING PROCEDURES WHICH FREQUENTLY BRING NO PRACTICAL RELIEF. A STATEWIDE SYSTEM FOR THE MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION OF CONSUMER COMPLAINTS IS DEEMED ESSENTIAL TO EFFECT AN ACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF CONSUMER PROTECTION. A NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK OF MEDIATION-ARBITRATION CENTERS WOULD BE DESIGNED SOLELY TO RESOLVE SMALL CLAIMS BROUGHT BY CONSUMER PLAINTIFFS. A CONSUMER HAVING A CLAIM WILL FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE CENTER WITHOUT THE PAYMENT OF ANY FEE. THE ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF WILL THEN NOTIFY THE MERCHANT AGAINST WHOM THE COMPLAINT HAS BEEN LODGED AND ENCOURAGED AS AMICABLE SETTLEMENT. IF THE PROBLEM IS NOT RESOLVED AT THIS LEVEL, THE CLAIM WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE ASSIGNED TO AN ARBITRATOR FOR RESOLUTION. THE ARBITRATOR WILL EXPEDITIOUSLY HEAR AND DETERMINE THE CLAIM UNDER INFORMAL PROCEDURES. IF THE ARBITRATOR RULES IN FAVOR OF THE CONSUMER, THE CONSUMER WILL BE ENTITLED TO IMMEDIATE PAYMENT BY THE CENTER FROM A FUND ESTABLISHED AND MAINTAINED TO PAY ALL AWARDS FOR LOSS OR DAMAGES AGAINST A MERCHANT. INITIAL REVENUE FOR THE FUND MAY BE OBTAINED BY LEVYING A SURCHARGE ON ALL MERCHANTS WHO SELL CONSUMER GOODS IN THE ORDINARY COURSE OF BUSINESS IN THE STATE. ANY PARTY HAS THE RIGHT TO AN APPEAL IN THE FORM OF A TRIAL DE NOVO IN AN APPROPRIATE COURT. IN ANY DECISION FAVORING A CONSUMER NOT APPEALED BY THE MERCHANT, THE MERCHANT WILL BE REQUIRED TO REIMBURSE THE FUND FOR THE AMOUNT PAID TO THE CONSUMER. IF AN ARBITRATOR'S DECISION IN FAVOR OF A CONSUMER IS REVERSED ON APPEAL, THE CENTER WILL SECURE REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE CONSUMER. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE WILL BE CHARGED WITH THE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY FOR IMPLEMENTING THE MECHANISMS AND OVERSEEING THEIR OPERATIONS. IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE PROPOSED MODEL INCORPORATES THE VISIBILITY, ACCESSIBILITY, MEDIATION, AND SPEEDY RESOLUTION REQUIRED FOR AN EFFECTIVE CONSUMER REDRESS SYSTEM. NOTES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Arbitration; Consumer fraud; Models; Youth Services Bureau
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