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CATA, BBB roll out binding arbitration program to avert suits

November 22, 2010
Local dealers and their customers can enter binding arbitration agreements under which disputes would be settled by arbiters of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago, not via lawsuits. The new program, developed by the BBB and the CATA, covers disputes arising from the purchase or lease of a new or used vehicle, including disputes related to any service contracts for the vehicle. A March 24 seminar at the CATA will cover the program in detail; register to attend using the flyer accompanying this newsletter. Attendees also will learn to explain the several ways that customers benefit when they agree to binding arbitration. To have a dispute resolved by BBB arbiters, the customer would have to pay $100 to the BBB; the dealer fee is $900, or $800 if the dealer is a BBB member. Both parties could bring an attorney to the arbitration. However, the process theoretically would eliminate that necessity. Customers would not surrender any rights by signing the agreement-that is forbidden under the state's Consumer Fraud Act-they would be choosing an alternate dispute settlement method. If the program is successful in the Chicago market, the BBB intends to expand it to other cities. The CATA's civic and dealer relations committee worked extensively with the BBB on the new program.