Filing Arbitration Against Amazon
In the excitement of starting launching their business on Amazon, many sellers are unaware they are giving up important legal rights. One of these rights is the right to file a lawsuit against Amazon for damages. Instead, you are obligated to submit your dispute to binding arbitration with the American Arbitration Association (AAA). While arbitration is advantageous in many ways, you will still need to prove your case in order to get the outcome you are hoping for. As a result, you should strongly consider working with an Amazon arbitration lawyer from ESQgo®, PC.
What is Arbitration?
When you join Amazon as a seller you agree to submit all disputes with Amazon to binding arbitration via Amazon’s Business Solutions Agreement (BSA). Arbitration is a less formal, more streamlined mechanism for resolving legal disputes than full-blown litigation. Your dispute will be heard by a single arbitrator, or panel of arbitrators, who will act as judges over the dispute. Both sides will put on evidence and make arguments as to why or why not the relief sought should be granted.
Many people choose arbitration over litigation because they get their dispute resolved more quickly and less expensively. However, there are two important points that Amazon sellers need to understand:
- You have given up your right to file a lawsuit in a court of law; and
- Arbitration with Amazon is binding.
Most Amazon sellers have no intention of ever filing suit – after all, litigation can be extremely time-consuming and expensive, with no guarantee of a positive outcome. The second point, however, is often controversial. When arbitration is binding it means that you agree to accept the outcome and understand that you have no further recourse. For many sellers, this can be a bitter pill to swallow if the outcome isn’t what they expected.
How the Amazon Arbitration Process Works
If you need to pursue a claim against Amazon, your arbitration will be governed and heard by the American Arbitration Association. A rough outline of the process is as follows:
- You or your Amazon arbitration lawyer must issue a “Demand for Arbitration” notifying Amazon of your dispute, the nature of the dispute, and what you believe the outcome should be. A copy of the letter must be sent to both Amazon at the address of their registered agent and filed with the American Arbitration Association.
- Your demand will be reviewed by Amazon’s lawyers. Many claims settle at this point if your demand is reasonable.
- If you are unable to settle your dispute, it will be heard by AAA arbitrators chosen by the parties.
- Once your dispute has been heard by the arbitrators, they will render a binding decision.
The critical step is in drafting the Demand for Arbitration. A thorough, yet concise, demand will shape the dispute and likely determine your likelihood of success. For this reason, you should consider working with an Amazon arbitration attorney if you are considering a claim.
Synthetic Arbitration® “SynArb®” – A Proprietary ESQgo® Solution
In looking for a way to better serve our clients, we created a unique solution to Amazon arbitration called Synthetic Arbitration® or “SynArb®” for short. SynArb® is a proprietary process that aims to resolve issues before arbitration, saving our clients time and money. Developed specifically – and only – for our clients by ESQgo®, SynArb® has proven to be a successful process time and time again. Contact us today to learn if this unique program is right for you.
FAQs: What Sellers, Vendors and Associates Need to Know about Amazon AAA Arbitration
When Can (and Should) I File for AAA Arbitration with Amazon?
Sellers, vendors and associates can file for AAA arbitration with Amazon under a variety of circumstances. However, most arbitration claims against Amazon involve one of three main issues:
- Amazon has suspended your Seller account;
- Amazon is withholding money you are rightfully owed; or,
- You have lost inventory that was being managed through Amazon Fulfillment.
Due to the time and costs involved (AAA fees can be in the thousands of dollars), filing for arbitration generally is not the first course of action if you have a dispute with Amazon. However, if your efforts to achieve a favorable resolution through other means prove unsuccessful, then filing for arbitration may be your best (and only) option. Our lawyers can examine the circumstances surrounding your dispute with Amazon and help you pursue the best path forward.
Should I Submit a Plan of Action Before Filing for Arbitration Against Amazon?
In some cases, it will make sense to submit a Plan of Action before filing for arbitration against Amazon. If Amazon has suspended your seller account and there are issues you need to address or there are obvious issues with Amazon’s reasoning for the suspension, then it may be possible to get your account reinstated by submitting a Plan of Action to Seller Performance.
However, many sellers find that this is simply a dead end, and they end up wasting time and effort only to be ignored (or receive a generic denial letter) from Amazon. If your Seller account has been suspended, you need to make informed decisions focused on getting your account reactivated as quickly as possible. We can help, and we can go over all of your options during your free initial consultation.
How Can I Win My AAA Arbitration with Amazon?
Winning AAA arbitration against Amazon is not an easy process. It requires careful planning and a strategic approach, and it requires intimate familiarity with the AAA arbitration process. From drafting your Demand for Arbitration to presenting your arguments to the panel of arbitrators, each step along the way requires legal knowledge; and, for this reason, it is strongly in your best interests to hire a lawyer to represent you from the outset of the process.
With that said, it is possible to win in AAA arbitration against Amazon. We have helped numerous clients get their accounts reinstated, receive payments and obtain reimbursements for lost inventory. In many cases, we have helped our clients secure these outcomes by working with Amazon’s defense lawyers directly through our SynArb® process and without going through full AAA arbitration.
How Can I Enforce My Arbitration Award Against Amazon?
If you win your arbitration case against Amazon, Amazon should comply with the arbitration panel’s decision — unless it is intending to challenge the decision in court. If Amazon does not comply, then you may need to go to court in the appropriate jurisdiction to have your arbitration award “confirmed.” This is a judicial process that is completely separate from the arbitration process (the AAA is not involved at all), and you will need experienced legal counsel to represent you.
How Can I Dispute the Outcome of My Arbitration with Amazon?
If you disagree with the outcome of your Amazon AAA arbitration, you may be able to challenge the arbitration panel’s decision in court. The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and various state laws provide limited grounds for challenging a binding arbitration award. Before you go to court, you will need to make sure you have valid grounds to do so, and we encourage you to discuss your options with a lawyer at ESQgo®.
Similar to the arbitration process itself, when challenging an arbitration award in Amazon’s favor, it may be possible to deal with Amazon’s defense lawyers directly before instituting formal proceedings. If Amazon’s defense lawyers recognize that there are flaws in the arbitration award (or that there were flaws in the arbitration process), they may prefer to negotiate rather than go through a judicial challenge.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Amazon AAA Arbitration?
Given the various challenges, issues and steps involved in pursuing AAA arbitration against Amazon, it is strongly in your best interests to consult with a lawyer before moving forward. If filing a Demand for Arbitration is your best option, you will want to have a lawyer draft your Demand and represent you in the arbitration proceedings. We are here to help you make informed decisions; and, if you have any questions about Amazon arbitration, we invite you to schedule a free 1-hour consultation with a lawyer at ESQgo®.
Talk to an Amazon Seller Arbitration Lawyer at ESQgo®, PC
If you have a dispute with Amazon, a lawyer from ESQgo®, PC can help you understand your options. From drafting the demand to representing you in your arbitration, we help our clients get the outcome they deserve. Contact us today to discuss your case and how we can help.