As of September 1, 2014, The American Arbitration Association (AAA) requires any business that provides for or intends to provide for the AAA to administer its consumer arbitrations to register the business’s consumer arbitration clause with the newly-created Consumer Clause Registry. AAA developed the Registry to provide public access to information about the AAA’s consumer arbitration services. The Registry will provide a list of businesses whose arbitration clauses the AAA has determined substantially and materially comply with the due process standards of the AAA’s Consumer Due Process Protocol.
Dealers who intend to have the AAA administer consumer arbitrations must submit their clauses accompanied by the consumer review and registry fee. The AAA will review the submitted clause. If the AAA determines that the submitted clause complies with the Consumer Due Process Protocol, the AAA will administer consumer-related disputes filed using the consumer clause. The publicly accessible Consumer Clause Registry will include the dealer’s name and address, the consumer arbitration clause, and any additional documents that may be related to the clause.
For clauses submitted in 2014, the fee is $650 per clause, which includes registration of your clause through 2015. For clauses submitted in 2015, the fee is $500 per clause. A yearly fee of $500 will be charged to maintain each individual clause on the Registry for each calendar year. The registration fee is non-refundable and is subject to change.
AAA Agreement Standards
Under the AAA, Consumer Due Process Protocol, the agreements to arbitrate require that the consumers be given.
a. clear and adequate notice of the arbitration provision and its consequences, including a statement of its mandatory or optional character;
b. reasonable access to information regarding the arbitration process, including basic distinctions between arbitration and court proceedings, related costs, and advice as to where they may obtain more complete information regarding arbitration procedures and arbitrator rosters;
c. notice of the option to make use of applicable small claims court procedures as an alternative to binding arbitration in appropriate cases; and,
d. a clear statement of the means by which the Consumer may exercise the option (if any) to submit disputes to arbitration or to court process.
The AAA suggests that the notice of arbitration must be sufficiently prominent in a contract so consumers can readily notice it. The AAA provides an example at its website. If you have questions or want to register, you may review the AAA information on this program at www.adr.org.