Tips for the Battle
There are some things you can do if you determine arbitration claims by credit card companies, meaning the arbitration or mediation process is right for you:
Read Your Cardholder Agreement - Read your cardholder agreement to see what you options are—some may state binding arbitration is your only choice. Look for specifics in the agreement such as who can choose the arbiter or if both parties must agree on the arbiter. If you’ve lost your cardholder agreement, contact your credit card company and get a copy; often these can be found online if you have an online account.
Research Arbiters – There are more companies than just the NAF, so do some research on companies regarding fee structures, knowledge and experience of the arbiters and percent of cases won by the cardholder—you may have to get an attorney to help determine this last factor.
Mediation – If you can go through mediation first, do so. Make sure you have every single receipt or credit purchase in dispute before mediation along with any other documents you feel can help sway the mediation in your favor. While an attorney isn’t needed, it’s often a good idea.
Arbitration – If mediation doesn’t work and binding arbitration ensues, you may need an attorney here who is knowledgeable about binding arbitration. Why? In binding arbitration although it’s not a court atmosphere, the process is much the same. Both parties present their sides, testimony, supporting documents and a wrap up statement to the arbiter (judge). The arbiter will only consider documents presented prior to the binding arbitration, not on the actual day of arbitration so here is where an attorney can help you get all your ducks in a row and submit everything to the arbiter on time. Any documents or testimony from witnesses not disclosed before the arbitration process starts will not be considered by the arbiter. All arbitration procedures allow you time prior to the day of arbitration to submit all the documents, witnesses, and case statements well in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to gather your items together or you’ll surely lose.
Ask for Documentation – You or your attorney can best battle and win in binding arbitration if you make the credit card companies produce signed agreements, receipts or other items they claim they have in their possession making you responsible for the debt. An attorney can request these in advance.