In the normal course of business, disputes are often inevitable. Parties may
disagree regarding their obligations no matter how
carefully a contract is written. The resolution of such disputes, however,
need not be costly and acrimonious. Alternative means of dispute resolution
can save time and money, and can help resolve the dispute while preserving
valuable business relationships.
The goal of these rules is to provide a social environment which is both
orderly and just. We thrive to make our dispute rules as fair as possible,
however, as always, there will be cases where such rules may appear unfair. Please bear in mind that there is no such thing as a "perfect
justice". We are all humans and make mistakes, and our interpretations
of "justice" differ from our past experiences, our convictions, our ethical background,
and sometimes, our mood.
Why having a dispute fee?
Our competitors simply do not care about disputes, or they hire the
cheapest labor for customer service and dispute resolutions.
Since filing a dispute is free, there is no incentive for our
competitors to hire professional experts to resolve disputes. As a
result, you get your money's worth - a lousy service with a
brainless unfair ruling.
At iGolder, we want all disputes to be resolved
fairly. By having a dispute fee, we
greatly reduce frivolous claims while dispensing the dispute
fee to hire an impartial expert to resolve the
dispute. The parties may also elect their
arbitrator to resolve their disputes; the
arbitrator may be specified in a clause of the
contract, or at the very moment a dispute arise.
If a dispute arise and both parties are unable to
agree on an arbitrator, then iGolder will resolve
the dispute if the case is small, or appoint an
arbitration specialist to resolve a larger dispute.
The dispute fee is 1 gr of
gold plus 10% of the disputed amount. If you
elect your own arbitrator, you still need to pledge
this amount as the dispute fee, and the arbitrator may
refund your arbitration fee after the dispute has
Disputes Within Safetransit
Most disputes should occur within Safetransit™.
Safetransit is a free tool protecting both the buyer
and seller regarding a transaction.
First Step: Stop the Payment
To initiate a dispute, you must take action by clicking on the
Stop Payment button located in the Payment
Details page. The request for stopping a payment will
immediately pause the transaction and send an email to the other
party regarding your discord. You have to provide an
explanation of your discord so the other party may respond to your
inquiry. It is amazing how many disputes can be resolved
gracefully using proper communication.
Ideally, the other party will respond to your inquiry and resolve
the issue without involving any dispute fees. For instance,
if you overpaid for a product or service, the other party simply
give you a partial refund for the extra amount, or ship you
additional goods. If shipping is running late, then the
seller may accept the to wait a few more days until you receive
the merchandise and release the payment.
iGolder provides a free
private secure messaging for
you to contact the merchant and express your concerns - use it
freely. Our confidential chat is the ideal tool for
negotiation and the recorded chat conversation can later be
used as a "witness" for
Second Step: Pay the Arbitration Fee
When you stop a payment, you must be willing to pledge 1 gram of
gold plus 10% of the disputed amount within 4 days. This
policy is to prevent abuse where people would impulsively stop
payments, and also to cover the arbitration cost for resolving
the dispute. If you do not pay the arbitration fee
within 4 days, then the transaction will resume as usual.
After you paid your arbitration fee, iGolder will send a message
to the other party to invite him to pay his arbitration fee.
If the other party fails to pay his arbitration fee within 10
days, then you automatically win the dispute. Again, you are
welcome to make proposals and resolve the dispute by mutual
agreement. If you resume the transaction, the arbitration
fee is automatically refunded.
Third Step: The Other Party Pays the Arbitration Fee
Once you pledged your arbitration fee, the other party has 10 days
to pledge the same amount of gold. This way, the "innocent"
party will get a full refund of the arbitration fee.
If the other party does not pledge the arbitration fee, then you
win by default, meaning you get a full refund of your arbitration
fee and the entire amount in Safetransit. The other party is
also subject to earn a
Demerit Point, unless he
really has a good reason (such as a long trip
or hospital stay) which prevented him from participating in the
dispute resolution. Regardless of the excuse of the other
party, your payment and dispute fee is nevertheless refunded if
the other party fails to pledge the dispute fee.
Fourth Step: Wait for
After both parties paid their arbitration fee, an arbitrator will
be assigned to resolve the dispute case. The arbitrator will
ask both parties to submit their side of the dispute, and will
make a decision based on facts. Once an arbitrator begins
the resolution of a dispute, the arbitration fee is
Disputes Arising Outside of Safetransit
Sometimes, a dispute may occur outside of Safetransit. Certain
transactions cannot be made with the Safetransit tool, such as
sending a check for purchasing gold, or using an ATM debit card to
exchange gold for cash. Other times, a transaction may have
occurred with Safetransit, however there are still issues.
An example would be the purchase of a product a warranty.
Upon receiving the product, the buyer inspects it and confirms the
product is working fine, thus closes the transaction. A few
weeks later, the product breaks while the seller refuses to honor the warranty.
Filing a dispute outside of Safetransit is almost identical as any
other type of disputes, thus requiring you to pledge one gram of gold plus 10%
of the amount in dispute. If the seller has a
Reserve, then iGolder will freeze the disputed amount from that
reserve until the dispute has been resolved. If the seller
does not has any Dispute Reserve, then an email will be sent to
invite him to participate to the dispute resolution by
transferring enough gold to cover the disputed amount plus the
arbitration fees. Because all payments are final and there
is no such thing as a chargeback at iGolder, the seller will never
be forced to give you a refund. On the other hand, the seller has great incentives to
collaborate because his reputation is at stakes; a failure
to participate towards the resolution of the dispute will result in a reputation downgrade to
At the moment, we have not developed the interface for automating
such disputes. If you have a dispute claim outside of
Safetransit, please contact us. If
the seller behaved in a dishonest way, we will manually issue a
Demerit Point and may
downgrade his reputation to Unreliable. On
the other hand, be prepared to answer questions and provide proofs
regarding the validity of your dispute,
If a member refuses to comply with the arbitration decision, then
the member's account will be downgraded to the status of Unreliable.
- An unreliable member immediately receives a zero reputation, meaning all
his transactions fees are increased significantly for a period of 6 months.
It becomes therefore more expensive for the unreliable member to trade with
others, and the total cost of being unreliable can be measured in grams of
gold at the end of the 6-month period.
- An unreliable member is no longer allowed to use any arbitration
services provided by iGolder a period of 6 months. Therefore the
unreliable member cannot initiate disputes, nor effectively use the Safetransit tool, thus making him on his own if a problem occurs.
- An Unreliable Warning is issued for every
transaction made by the unreliable member, whatever he wants to buy, sell or
exchange gold. For a period of 6 months, a warning message is sent by email to
any other party wishing to transact with him. The other party must manually acknowledge
the desire to carry on the trade in order to complete the transaction.
Such email message is a powerful tool to pressure the recalcitrant merchant
to comply with the arbitration verdict, because other members may ask for
higher fees or even boycott him for breaking the rules.
Our goal is providing a cost-effective mean to enforce arbitration decisions
to increase fairness when resolving disputes. Over-punishing a member
for ignoring an arbitrator's decision is not fair either. We are all
humans and make mistakes. Although the arbitrator is impartial,
meaning he/she does not take sides, the arbitrator does not have perfect
knowledge of the dispute situation and may render an incorrect verdict.
Who Pays For The Arbitration Fees?
Both parties must put the entire arbitration cost "into the pot",
and the arbitration specialist refunds the "innocent party". Ultimately, it
is at the specialist's discretion to decide the amount
refunded to the "innocent party". By default, the arbitration cost will be
allocated according to award percentage as in the
following table, unless the ADR specialist decides to override:
||Who Pays for Arbitration Fees?
||Plaintiff pays 100%. The plaintiff made a frivolous claim, therefore
the merchant is innocent.
||Plaintiff pays 90% and merchant pays 10%.
||Plaintiff pays 80% and merchant pays 20%.
||Plaintiff pays 70% and merchant pays 30%.
||Plaintiff pays 60% and merchant pays 40%.
||Plaintiff pays 50% and merchant pays 50%.
||Plaintiff pays 33.3% and merchant pays 66.7%.
||Plaintiff pays 20% and merchant pays 80%.
||Merchant pays 100%. The rationale is the following: if the plaintiff can recover 50%
(or more) of the
amount, it means the merchant is nevertheless faulty.
||Merchant pays 100%. The plaintiff is completely innocent
and had a valid claim against the merchant.
Example of Arbitration
Suppose Alice purchased a boat from Bob for 100 grams of gold
with the Safetransit™. When
she receives the boat, she discovered there is no GPS for
navigation. The contract stipulated the boat included a
GPS. Alice attempts to contact Bob, however without
success. Bob does not bother to respond. She then files a dispute claiming 15 grams of
gold for the value of the GPS. Therefore, Alice must
pledge (1 + 15*10%) = 2.5 grams of gold for the arbitration
fee. Since Alice is requesting a partial refund, Bob's
arbitration fee is taken directly from the Safetransit
reserve. Besides, Bob never pledged any Dispute Reserve.
The ADR specialist determines a GPS can be purchased for 10 grams
of gold, however because Bob did not honor his contract, an
extra 3 grams is awarded as punitive
damage. Therefore Alice receives 13 grams of gold which
represents an award percentage of 13 / 15 = 86.7%. As a result,
Bob has to bear the entire arbitration fee, so Bob is left
with 100 - (13 + 2.5) = 84.5 grams of gold, and Alice spent 87
grams of gold for her boat. Bob also receives a
demerit point for not
responding to Alice's request.
Now, let's take the same example, however this time Alice
wants a refund of 50 grams of gold. Alice must therefore
pledge (1 + 50*10%) = 6 grams of gold as the arbitration fee.
Again, the arbitrator determines the GPS is worth 10 grams of
gold and awards 3 grams as punitive damage. This time
Alice's award percentage is 13 / 50 = 26%, so both Alice and Bob
must share the arbitration fees. According to the
formula from the table above, Alice pays 48% and Bob 52% of
the arbitration fee, meaning 2.88 grams and 3.12 grams,
As you can see, by asking a larger amount, Alice received less
gold. In the first case, she was awarded 13 grams of
gold and Bob had to pay the entire dispute fees. In the
second case, she was awarded again 13 grams of gold, however
because her award percentage was only 26%, she had to pay
almost half of the dispute fee, therefore Alice ended with 13
- 2.88 = 10.12 grams of gold. The arbitrator may have
also decided to award Alice only one gram as punitive damage
because of her exaggerated claim, resulting in 8.12 grams for
Alice. When filing a dispute, it is important to make a
reasonable request. Alice's effective award has almost
doubled, from 8.12 to 13 grams of gold.
Appealing the Decision of iGolder
If you feel iGolder has been unfair to you, you may bring your case to
the International Centre for Dispute Resolution® (ICDR) at
http://www.adr.org/icdr. We will
abide by the ruling of the ICDR.
Tips For Resolving Disputes
Please communicate with the merchant about the problem before
filing for a complaint. The merchant may not be aware of any problem,
and without your feedback, he may rightfully assume everything is fine.
Figure out what needs to be done to resolve your problem, and be open to the
merchant's suggestions. A simple solution, such as a product
replacement or partial refund, may be acceptable and gracefully close the
issue without affecting anyone's reputation.
We encourage our members to use iGolder's
private messaging to communicate with
each other. This chat is fully encrypted and recorded, so if a
complaint escalates to a dispute requiring arbitration, then the arbitrator
will have an "official" recording of the conversation to make a sound
decision. Each dispute is unique and must be handled accordingly,
however here are some points the arbitrator may look for:
- Chat conversation prior the purchase (if any).
iGolder's private chat assists the buyer and seller to negotiate their
conditions before making a trade. This way, the arbitrator has a
"document" specifying the performances and obligations of each party.
- Disputes should occur within the
Safetransit™ system - that is, before completing a
transaction. If a dispute occurs after the transaction was
completed, then the buyer must answer the hard question why he/she
prematurely completed the transaction without considering the
performance of the seller. To ensure fairness, iGolder is willing
to listen to every disputes, however we have a mechanism to penalize
those with furious claims. iGolder is fully aware certain types of
transactions cannot be conducted using the Safetransit tool, such as
exchanges involving an ATM debit card. Also, depending on the good
or service purchased, there may be other problems arising after
closing a transaction, such as a product failure after delivery
where the seller does not want to honor the warranty.
- The outcome of a dispute decision may be affected by the buyer's
delay to contact the merchant. The buyer has a maximum period of 6
months to initiate a dispute against the seller. However, waiting
5 months and 29 days to file a complaint is not to the buyer's
advantage, as the buyer must answer the hard question why he waited so
long to report the problem.
- Efforts made by each party to resolve their differences, including
politeness and reasonable delays. In a chat conversation, it is
often easy to notice one party trying to evade questions, or making
little efforts in finding a solution.
Feedback Comment Removal
A member may file a dispute regarding a
The plaintiff must again pledge one gram of gold for iGolder to
review the comment. If the
comment is removed, then the gram of gold will be refunded to the
plaintiff. A withdrawn feedback is not
counted in feedback reputation scores or ratings, however the original feedback comment
remains in the database in case of a future investigation.
Broken Merchandise Policy
If you ever received a broken merchandise, then you have the
responsibility to take pictures
from many angles to prove the merchandise was indeed broken.
We also recommend taking pictures of the box at the moment you received
the package. Sometimes the box is so damaged that just looking at
it may reveal damaged merchandise. Then, you must submit all
pictures to iGolder and our staff will review them. Do not throw
away the broken product until the dispute has been resolved. If
you throw away the broken product, then iGolder will not take your
claim seriously and your case will likely be dismissed. Also, you must be prepared to
return the broken merchandise to iGolder for arbitration, or to
the seller for a product replacement. As the plaintiff, you have to
pay for the shipping fees, however the same amount is withheld
from the seller's dispute
reserve to refund your shipping fees. If the merchandise was
indeed broken, then the seller will have to re-send you a product
replacement at his expense and give you a partial refund to cover
the fees you incurred shipping the broken product back to him. On the
other hand, if you tried to cheat the seller with the "broken
merchandise" trick to get a refund an keep the product for free, then you will get
nothing. Your arbitration case will be dismissed, meaning
you will bear the full cost of the arbitration fees without any
product. The entire amount in
Safetransit™ will go to the seller, and any amount
withheld within the dispute reserve will be released to the seller.
Instead of receiving a free product, you may
receive a demerit point.
It is the seller's responsibility to adequately package the
product to withstand shipping. The seller is expected to
know how fragile the product is and pick an appropriate shipping
method. If the shipping company lost the package or damaged
the product, then the seller may file a claim against the shipping
company for non-performance or poor performance. Most
shipping company offer insurance coverage against such damages,
however they often requires to see the damaged product before
issuing a refund to the shipper. If the shipping company was
faulty, then the insurance should cover all the fees to replace
the product and ship it again without incurring any extra cost to the