Amazon Arbitration: Venue Selection
In our continuing series, so far we have discussed cases and situations when it is in a seller’s best interest to file for arbitration, as well as how to initiate the process. This article will discuss venue selection, which essentially means where the arbitration will take place.
According to the American Arbitration Association (AAA):
“Services are available through AAA headquarters in New York and through offices located in major cities throughout the United States. Hearings may be held at locations convenient for the parties and are not limited to cities with AAA offices. In addition, the AAA serves as a center for education and training, issues specialized publications, and conducts research on various forms of alternative dispute resolution.”
Further, in section 18 of the Amazon Participation agreement, in which sellers are required to agree to settle disputes by arbitration, Amazon states:
“You may choose to have the arbitration conducted by telephone, based on written submissions, or in person in the county where you live or at another mutually agreed location.”
Both the AAA Rules and the Amazon Sellers Participation agreement essentially require that the arbitration be conducted in a location that is acceptable to both parties. What is acceptable however, is open to debate.
Whether you have an attorney assisting you with your arbitration is an important consideration. If you and your attorney are both located within the same geographic area, you will want to consider requesting a venue in that region. However, if you and your attorney are on opposite sides of the country (or the world), it may be best to conduct the arbitration at a venue near your attorney’s office. If you are navigating the process on your own, it is in your best interest to conduct the hearing at the venue most convenient to you.
Amazon Arbitration: Where Does Amazon Want To Arbitrate?
At Amazon Sellers Lawyer, we have successfully arbitrated several cases against Amazon. Each case is different and we have experience arbitrating a variety of issues on behalf of our seller clients. Amazon is located in Seattle and they are permitted to request to conduct the arbitration there. However, in all the cases we have arbitrated against Amazon thus far, Amazon did not argue with our choice of venue. It appears Amazon has a large enough presence nationwide that they are comfortable conducting arbitration hearings at the seller’s requested venue.
Amazon Arbitration: Venue Selection: Conclusion
Any seller who must file for arbitration to resolve a dispute with Amazon is likely already under enormous pressure to get back to selling. If you are in an arbitrable situation, it seems that you can minimize the inconvenience, at least slightly, by requesting to conduct the arbitration at a venue of your choice.
It is your legal right to hold the arbitration at a venue that is reasonably convenient for both you and Amazon. Although we have not seen an instance in which Amazon requested to change the venue from a client’s stated request, you do not need to concede to their choice because the law protects you. The AAA and the arbitrator can assign a venue for your Amazon arbitration if you and Amazon cannot come to an agreement.
By: Robert Segall – Rob is a paralegal with Amazon Sellers Lawyer. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus in finance. Robert is currently pursuing his Juris Doctor as a third year student at Maurice A. Deane School of Law and will graduate with a concentration in Intellectual Property Law. Robert’s financial background and experience provide him with unique insight into the needs of Amazon Sellers and allow him to efficiently identify and serve client’s needs.