JVC Defines ADR Program

December 1998

Managing:Legal Issues

JVC Defines ADR Program

Clearly defined criteria and procedures are key ingredients to a successful alternative dispute resolution program. The Jewelers Vigilance Committee's enhanced ADR program does the job

BY WILLIAM H. DONAHUE JR.

The Jewelers Vigilance Committee's alternative dispute resolution program recently defined in writing what disputes it will mediate, how the process works and what rights of appeal the parties have.

The Disputes Covered
The service mediates or arbitrates the following disputes within the industry or with consumers:

  • Violating industry codes or ethics and standards.
  • Misrepresenting karat and carat.
  • Misrepresenting color, clarity, weight or synthetic material.
  • Not disclosing as required by the FTC Guides for the Jewelry Industry.
  • Other violations of the FTC Guides, including tolerances.
  • Deceptive advertising and pricing. The service will not mediate or arbitrate bill collection, refund/store credit disputes, non-delivery of goods, or copyright matters. It will not prevent or replace law enforcement where a pattern of violations occurs and prosecution is the appropriate course of action.

How the Process Works
Disputes must be submitted in writing and include supporting documentation. JVC decides within 10 working days whether there are sufficient grounds to justify the claim. If not, the process ends (the complainant doesn't give up the right to pursue the claim through other channels if this happens).

If there are sufficient grounds, JVC assigns a case number and notifies all parties that the complainant wishes to mediate or arbitrate the dispute through the ADR program rather than through litigation. It also says any determination is non-binding and gives written procedures to all parties involved (disputes often involve more than two parties). If the parties agree to continue, they'll sign an agreement choosing arbitration or mediation and agreeing any party can withdraw at any time.

The complained-against party or parties can submit documents they feel are relevant. JVC may ask for additional documents, as may other parties. The intent is to advance the process quickly and efficiently.

The process continues to a resolution unless JVC determines further efforts are fruitless or one party withdraws. Settlements are in writing and signed by the parties. Arbitration determinations include a brief explanation of the determination. Settlement agreements are confidential, but the parties may disclose them for the purpose of enforcement.

Rights of Appeal
Arbitration determinations can be appealed to a JVC Appeals Panel, which will be drawn from the JVC Board of Directors.

Executive Director Cecelia Gardner says JVC plans to offer the service for free. If either party feels there's a conflict of interest with JVC and the case is referred to private ADR, the parties are responsible for the costs. If expert witnesses are needed, the parties involved in the dispute are responsible for these costs as well.

JVC, New York City, (212) 532-1919.



Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


 

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