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The Other ADR

by Diane Cohen
July 2011

Mediation Blog by Diane Cohen

Diane Cohen

I recently had two unsatisfying small dollar amount purchases, which I would have never pursued in small claims court, but which got resolved happily through the strong arm of the credit card company in one case, and Amazon, in the other. I see this as a great ADR service by private companies with clout.

Credit card companies have a lot of power over pretty much everyone, and if you have a gripe about a purchase, you can easily submit a claim. They will then ask the seller to submit a response, and if your claim is clear cut (in my case, the seller had never sent the item), the credit card company will credit your account. Voila! How simple and satisfying is that?

Other large companies, like Amazon, which thrive on good customer service and a user friendly system, will also go to bat for you. So, recently when I ordered a book which was supposed to be unabridged, and the the seller sent me the abridged version, I complained to Amazon. I had first contacted the seller and found their solution unreasonable. Having done that, I contacted Amazon and they took care of the problem and refunded my money.

These are terrific services, and an often overlooked source of free ADR (in applicable cases).


Diane Cohen is a mediator in private practice and writes regularly on the process of mediation. Diane is an impasse mediator, and therefore mediates in all realms, but primarily in the family, divorce and workplace areas. Diane is a former co-president of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York. She has a J.D. from Columbia Law School, was certified as a community mediator by the Unified Court System in New York, and is a NYSDRA-certified mediator. She conducts workshops for mediators who want to work on their mediation skills.

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