1. What is "Access to Arbitration and Mediation"?*
At Verizon, customer satisfaction is a priority. While we hope that all issues related to your account or Verizon Service can be resolved through our Customer Service Department, if we do not resolve an issue to your satisfaction, the Terms of Service for your Verizon Service may: (i) offer you the opportunity to request a non-lawyer mediation with us and (ii) require that you and Verizon pursue any unresolved disputes or claims through arbitration. You can review the Terms of Service applicable to your Verizon Services at www.verizon.com/terms. Both mediation and arbitration are described below.
*This information has been prepared for the convenience of Verizon residential customers. It does not modify or replace any of our contracts or advertising, or any arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). It does not constitute legal advice.
2. How do I determine if my Terms of Service include mediation or arbitration provisions?
You may review the Terms of Service at www.verizon.com/terms in order to determine if they contain mediation and arbitration provisions. Please note that even if your Terms of Service do not include these provisions, we encourage you to submit a Notice of Dispute Form if you would like to request either mediation or arbitration. Verizon will respond with either a confirmation of its agreement to the mediation or arbitration request or will suggest another method to resolve your concerns.
3. What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process in which a neutral third person (one or more arbitrators) decides a dispute. Arbitration is utilized as an alternative to a traditional lawsuit in a court setting, and is often faster and more informal than court proceedings. There is no judge or jury in arbitration, but an arbitrator can award the same damages and relief as a court would. You are not required to have a lawyer represent you in order to participate in an arbitration, although you may choose to do so.
Certain Verizon Terms of Service contain a clause stating that both of us have agreed that any dispute or claim between us (except for certain small claims cases) will be settled by binding arbitration. In these Terms of Service, we have each agreed that the arbitration decision is final and enforceable in court. Please note that even if your Terms of Service do not include these provisions, we encourage you to submit a Notice of Dispute Form if you would like to request either mediation or arbitration. Verizon will respond with either a confirmation of its agreement to the mediation or arbitration request or will suggest another method to resolve your concerns.
Arbitrators can often make a decision based solely on documents (which could be as simple as letters) provided by both sides. Arbitration in this manner this way can avoid an in-person hearing that could be time consuming and inconvenient. However, if either of us decides that an in-person hearing is necessary, one can be scheduled. If everyone agrees, the hearing may even take place by telephone.
4. How do I begin an Arbitration?
If you and Verizon have agreed to arbitrate (either through the Terms of Service or mutual agreement), the first step is to provide notice to Verizon by completing the Notice of Dispute Form, found here or obtained from the Verizon Dispute Resolution Manager, One Verizon Way, VC54N100, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920-1097 or NoticeOfDispute@verizon.com. The completed form should be sent to the attention of the Verizon Dispute Resolution Manager according to the directions on the form at least 30 days in advance of initiating the arbitration. The arbitration will take place in the county of your billing address, unless we agree otherwise.
If your claim is for more than $10,000, the AAA’s arbitration rules will apply. In these cases, the party losing the arbitration can ask for a panel of three new arbitrators to review the award.
For claims of $10,000 or less, the party bringing the claim can choose: (i) Arbitration. If you select arbitration, you may choose to have the arbitration carried out so that the arbitrator will base his or her decision solely on documents submitted by the parties, or the arbitration may be conducted through an in-person hearing, or by phone call; or (ii) To bring an individual action in small claim’s court.
Even if you completethe Notice of Dispute Form, you must contact the AAA and follow its procedures to initiate the arbitration. You may begin anarbitration process by contacting the AAA for the proper forms. The completed forms should be returned directly to the AAA. Please make sure you include the name and address of the Verizon Dispute Resolution Manager, One Verizon Way, VC54N090, Basking Ridge, NJ, 07920-1097. The AAA will assign someone to manage your case. You will be contacted with instructions for continuing the arbitration process. Be sure to keep a copy of everything you send to the AAA.
Verizon will reimburse you for the fees the AAA may charge in connection with the arbitration of your dispute. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee directly to the AAA, Verizon will do so if you provide us with a signed written statement of your situation. If the arbitration proceeds, we'll also pay any administrative and arbitrator fees charged later, as well as for any appeal to a panel of three new arbitrators (if the arbitration award is appealable under the Terms of Service.) You may obtain procedures, rules and fee information from the AAA (www.adr.org).
5. Is Arbitration the only choice for resolving a dispute?
While your Terms of Service may require arbitration, as opposed to seeking relief through a court proceeding, arbitration is not the only choice we have for resolving our disputes. Verizon also has a free voluntary mediation program. For claims of less than $10,000, either of us can also bring an individual action in any small claims court that has authority to hear the case. In addition, you can communicate any claims you may have to the attention of the Better Business Bureau ("BBB") or federal, state, or local government agencies, and if the law allows, they can seek relief against Verizon on your behalf.
6. What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process in which a third person (a mediator) aids the parties in jointly resolving their dispute. In our voluntary mediation program, Verizon assigns someone (who may be from our company but will not be directly involved in your dispute) to mediate. That person will have all the rights and protections of a mediator. There is no charge to you for participating in our mediation program.
Unlike arbitration, a mediator does not decide the dispute for the parties. Instead, he or she helps the parties resolve it themselves (usually in a form that will be final and binding). In addition, mediation is generally faster and always more informal than court proceedings. Nothing said in the mediation can later be used in an arbitration or lawsuit. If you participate in a mediation with Verizon that does not resolve our dispute, it does not affect either party’s right to pursue other dispute resolution options (such as arbitration or small claims court) which may be available under your Terms of Service.
7. How do I begin a Mediation?
You may begin a mediation with Verizon by completing the Notice of Dispute Form which can be downloaded here or obtained from the Verizon Dispute Resolution Manager, One Verizon Way, VC54N090, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920-1097 or at NoticeOfDispute@verizon.com. The completed form should be sent to the attention of the Verizon Dispute Resolution Manager according to the directions on the form. Be sure to keep a copy of your completed Notice of Customer Dispute Form for your files.
When we receive your completed form, someone will contact you to try to resolve your issue. If you are not satisfied with the proposed resolution, a mediator will be assigned to your case and will work with you to set a mediation date and time. You are not required to have an attorney to participate in a mediation although you may choose to do so.
8. Who can act as a "duly authorized representative of the account holder," able to complete the Notice of Dispute Form and take action on behalf of the Verizon account holder?
A "duly authorized representative" is either a responsible billing party for the account or an individual that Verizon’s records show has been designated on the account as an authorized party. If you will be represented by an attorney in a mediation or arbitration, please check the box in the Notice of Dispute Form that indicates you are represented by an attorney.
9. What is the contact information for the American Arbitration Association and Verizon Dispute Resolution Manager?
American Arbitration Association - Customer Service Center
335 Madison Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, New York 10017-4605
Phone: (212) 716-5870
Fax: (212) 716-5907
Phone Toll Free: (800) 778-7879
Verizon Dispute Resolution Manager
One Verizon Way
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920-1097