Arbitration and Mediation FAQs
What is "Access to Arbitration and Mediation"?*
At Verizon Wireless, customer satisfaction is a priority. For that reason we encourage you to contact our Customer Service Department if you have any issue or dispute about your account or wireless service. If we do not resolve a dispute to your satisfaction, you may arbitrate or mediate with us.
Our Customer Service Representatives are available Monday through Sunday, 6:00 am to 11:00 pm. You can reach them by dialing 1-800-922-0204 from any telephone or *611 from your wireless phone. We will not charge you airtime for this call. You may also contact us via email at www.verizonwireless.com.Back to top
*This information has been prepared for the convenience of Verizon Wireless customers. It does not modify or replace any of our contracts or advertising, or any arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It does not constitute legal advice.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process in which a neutral third person (one or more arbitrators) decides a dispute. Arbitration is often faster and more informal than court proceedings. Your Verizon Wireless Customer Agreement contains an arbitration clause. It says that we both have agreed that (except for certain small claims cases) any dispute or claim that arises or has arisen between us will be settled by binding arbitration before either the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or the Better Business Bureau (BBB). We have each agreed that the arbitration decision is final and enforceable in court. By agreeing to arbitration, your legal claims are not affected, only the dispute resolution process has changed. If you are covered by an earlier Customer Agreement that says something different, arbitration is still available to you.Back to top
How does an Arbitration commence?
You can commence an AAA or BBB arbitration with Verizon Wireless by contacting the AAA or BBB for the proper forms. You must then complete the forms and return them directly to the AAA or BBB. To make sure we know about any arbitration you begin, please make sure your forms include the name and address of the Verizon Wireless HQ Dispute Resolution Manager, One Verizon Way, VC52S417, Basking Ridge, NJ, 07920-1097. (Be sure to keep a copy of everything you send to the administrator of your arbitration and to us.) The AAA or BBB will assign someone to manage your case. You will be contacted with instructions for continuing the arbitration process.Back to top
Arbitrators can often make a decision based solely on documents (which could be as simple as letters) provided by both sides. Arbitrating this way can avoid an in-person hearing that could be time consuming and inconvenient. However, if either of us decides an in-person hearing is necessary, one can be scheduled. If everyone agrees, the hearing may even take place by telephone. If you are an individual (not a company), it is up to you whether to have a lawyer represent you in the arbitration.
Our Customer Agreement states that for claims over $10,000, the AAA's Wireless Industry Arbitration (WIA) Rules will apply. For claims of $10,000 or less, you can choose either the AAA's Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes or the BBB's Rules for Binding Arbitration or an individual action in small claims court. You should read the relevant rules if you want more information about them. You can obtain rules, procedures and fee information from the AAA, the BBB or from us.
Is Arbitration the only choice for resolving a dispute?
Arbitration is not the only choice we each have for resolving our disputes. Mediation is another possibility. For claims of less than $10,000, either of us can also bring an individual action in any small claims court that has authority to hear the case.Back to top
What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process in which a neutral third person (a mediator) aids the parties in jointly resolving their dispute. Unlike arbitration, a mediator does not decide the dispute for the parties. Instead, he or she helps the parties resolve it themselves (usually in a form that will be final and binding). Nothing said in the mediation can be used in a later arbitration or lawsuit. In addition, mediation is generally faster and always more informal than court proceedings. Our Customer Agreement contains a mediation clause that gives you an opportunity to have your dispute resolved by mediation rather than arbitration. In our mediation program, we assign someone (who may be from our company but will not be involved in your dispute) to mediate. That person will have all the rights and protections of a mediator. There is no charge to you for participating in our mediation program.Back to top
If you complete our mediation program and the mediation does not resolve the dispute between us, we will pay certain filing fees later charged you by the AAA or BBB for one arbitration of the dispute, as provided in your Customer Agreement. Completing the mediation program means participating in good faith in at least one telephonic mediation session.
How does a Mediation commence?
You can commence a mediation with Verizon Wireless by contacting our Customer Service Department or by visiting us at www.verizonwireless.com for a Notice of Dispute form. Complete the form in its entirety and mail it to the attention of the Verizon Wireless HQ Dispute Resolution Manager. When we receive your completed form, a mediator will be assigned to your case and will work with you to set a mediation date and time*. You are not required to have a lawyer represent you in the mediation, but you can have a lawyer represent you if you wish. Be sure to keep a copy of your completed Mediation Request form for your files.Back to top
If for some reason your dispute can not be resolved by mediation and you then want to arbitrate, you will need to contact the AAA or BBB for the appropriate forms.
*Completing the form means identifying the account(s) at issue and giving a brief description of the nature of your dispute. We also ask that you tell us when you would be available for a telephonic mediation and the contact number to be used for the mediation.
What is the Verizon Wireless Assistance for Access to Arbitration Program?
If you decide not to mediate with us, arbitration is still available to you. In some circumstances, however, the fees charged by the AAA (the BBB does not charge arbitration fees) may be a concern or even a barrier. If you have concerns about the fees involved, please contact our Customer Service Department. In appropriate circumstances, we may be willing to waive or renegotiate contract clauses dealing with the costs of arbitration.* For example, we may be willing to negotiate an agreement to guarantee that you will recover the costs of arbitration and some attorney's fees (if you use an attorney) if you prevail on the merits of your dispute with us.** In some cases, we may even advance arbitration fees. We make all such determinations on a case-by-case basis and may consider a number of factors. Of course, as stated in your Customer Agreement, any waiver of our rights is without prejudice and would not affect any other provision of the agreement.Back to top
Verizon Wireless would appreciate the opportunity to resolve any issues you may have with us before you contact an agency or court. We believe we can do so most of the time just by working together informally. If we can not resolve a particular concern to your satisfaction, the alternative dispute resolution processes in your Customer Agreement and this guide offer an efficient and effective means to help us conclude matters more formally.
*We will not agree to waive any portion of a Customer Agreement concerning class actions; punitive damages; treble, consequential, indirect, or special damages; or equitable relief.
**We will not agree to costs exceeding the filing fee, reasonable arbitrator's fees and actual, reasonable attorney's fees of up to 33% of the disputed claim or award.
What is the contact information for the American Arbitration Association and Better Business Bureau?
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American Abritration Association - Customer Service Center
335 Madison Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, New York 10017-4605
Phone: (212) 716-5870
Fax: (212) 716-5907
Phone Toll Free: (800) 778-7879
Better Business Bureau - Corporate Headquarters
The Council of Better Business Bureaus
3033 Wilson Blvd., Suite 600
Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: (703) 276-0100