The most common questions about FairClaims are answered below. You can find answers to more detailed questions here.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration lets you resolve your matter without going to court, using a private arbitrator who decides your case. Learn more. Big companies have been using it for years and FairClaims wants to bring it to you!
Is this legit? Is your process comprehensive enough to make a judgment? If so, how so?
We're official. Arbitration is enforceable similar to an actual court judgment. Someone using FairClaims can take the arbitration decision to law enforcement to levy a bank account or garnish a wage. After getting it confirmed, which is a very straightforward process. And we can help!
We're comprehensive. Many small claims court cases are given about 10-15 minutes of attention. Total. There's little or no time spent before the court appearance reviewing the documents and the case. The small claims court commissioner or judge pro tem (a practicing lawyer hearing cases on a part time basis) typically hears cases all day, back to back. Each side walks up, says their piece for a few minutes, and the commissioner decides right then and there, again, without necessarily having review the cased beforehand.
Our arbitrators spend time reviewing evidence ahead of time, up to 30 minutes on an online or phone hearing, and more time as necessary to investigate facts and law before handing down a decision.
Are FairClaims decisions final?
Yes. We use binding arbitration which means our decisions are final and binding on both parties. We're able to do that once both sides sign an agreement giving us authority to do so. Learn more.
Ok, but how do I actually collect?
We expect most people to pay up once a decision is handed down given they will have contractually agreed to do so, and because we make sure both sides understand that our decision is enforceable in court.
But if a party does not pay as expected, collecting that payment is a very straightforward two step process. (1) you get your arbitration decision confirmed (see for example California Code of Civil Procedure sec. 1285 & Petition to Confirm Contractual Arbitration Award), and (2) you get a writ of execution with the local Sheriff who can then actually enforce the judgment by impounding a bank account or garnishing wages (see Writ of Execution Form & Enforcing Arbitration Awards in California"). Similar rules apply across the country and in most states (see 9 US Code sec. 9 & "Enforceability of an Arbitration Clause in a Contract").
What criteria do your arbitrators have to meet?
We're committed to providing you with high quality arbitrators. We connect you with experienced lawyers who went to top law schools. We also make sure our arbitrators are good communicators and friendly, to ensure a healthy level of comfort throughout the process. View some of our arbitrators.
What types of cases does FairClaims handle?
Anything handled in small claims court including disagreements over loan repayments, past due invoices, car repair, security deposits, and services contracts. We currently handle matters $10-15K+ and under.
What are the benefits of settling online rather than in small claims court?
The benefits of using FairClaims are: Convenience, Quicker Turnaround Time, Comfort and Quality.
Convenience. You can do it from anywhere. Small claims court can be really disruptive - you have to take time off work or step away from your business or family to drive down to court, wait for your case to be called (1-2+ hours), argue your case, and drive back. And if you want to get a witness to join you, they’ll face the same hassles. With FairClaims our hearings are just 30 minutes online from wherever you or your witness might be.
Quicker turnaround time. You can get an FairClaims decision within as little as 3 weeks from the date both parties agree to use the service. Versus approximately 2-3 months in small claims court.
Comfort. You don’t have to learn the rules of court and don’t have to get in front of a packed court room/judge to argue your case. Our arbitrators are highly competent but not intimidating.
Quality. We'll spend more time on your matter than a small claims court judge, with high quality arbitrators who are qualified to hear your claim. Small claims court judges typically spend 10-15 minutes on each matter (in LA County at least). We’ll spend 60-90 minutes on each matter. So we expect to be able to provide higher quality justice.
What's the difference between FairClaims and Small Claims Court?
See our Small Claims Court v. FairClaims page.
How much does it cost?
$79/party for claims under $1,500. $99/party for $1,500 - $2,500 claims. $129/party for $2,500 - $5,000. $159/party for $5,000 - $10,000 claims.
Each side pays once both sides agree to use FairClaims.
If both sides agree, one side can pay the fee for both parties. This sometimes happens between employers and employees, for example.
And if both parties agree, we can add a rule that the winning party collects their arbitration fee from the losing party - more on that if/when you move forward with an arbitration.
What inspired FairClaims?
A legal system that's too expensive and inefficient at resolving small matters. We decided we could do better. And want to inspire people to work out their differences in a quicker, more efficient, more effective manner.