Alternative Dispute Resolution

 

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) includes dispute resolution processes and techniques that fall outside of the government judicial process.  The purpose of this page is to provide you with information to help you think of different ways of resolving your disputes using iGolder.

 

There are three commonly used methods of resolving disputes without going to court:

  • negotiation
  • mediation
  • arbitration

Dispute resolution covers a range of choices, from negotiating a solution to going to court. Each option should be viewed as a distinct process, but each can be used alone or in combination.

 

Dispute Resolution

 

Negotiation

Solving disagreements through negotiation is a part of everyday life.  Members who disagree can often communicate together to discuss the problem and reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.  Negotiation is the cheapest mean for solving a dispute and usually offers the highest opportunity to work out a solution meeting the needs and interests of both parties.  iGolder provides a free private chat where both parties can communicate and work together to reach a solution.  Most disputes can be solved gracefully with proper communication.

 

Negotiation is somewhat a "conflict management process", and often, the negotiators focus on accusing and blaming each other rather than generating options and creating value. Such negotiation style often leads to a deadlock, where parties are unable to reach an agreement.

 

When negotiation is not sufficient to resolve a dispute, iGolder offers the option to ask for a mediator.

 

Mediation

Members involved in a dispute may ask a mediator, an unbiased and impartial person, to assist them in their negotiations. The goal of mediation is for the parties to reach an agreement to settle.  Parties have an equal say in the process and decide settlement terms, not the mediator. There is no determination of guilt or innocence in the process. Where negotiation has not been successful, the mediator can often help to ease tension, encourage discussion between the parties and recommend solutions.  Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process; all parties must consent to participate in good faith and work toward a mutually agreeable resolution.  Mediating parties are not bound to resolve their dispute (although mediated settlements, once reached, can be made binding if the parties decide to draft a contract called a Settlement Agreement).  Mediation does not "decide" in favor of one party or another; however, the mediator may counsel parties on the strengths and weaknesses of their case and gauge each party's likelihood of success if the dispute proceeds to arbitration or litigation.

 

The mediator might take an evaluative approach, expressing opinions as to who is right or wrong and who is likely to win or lose if the dispute were litigated or arbitrated.  The aim is primarily to settle the dispute and, if not, to improve understanding of the issues and to narrow them.

 

The mediator might take an interests-based approach, seeking to clarify the interests of the parties that underlie their respective positions, so as to explore possible options for agreement that would satisfy interests on both sides. When employed in the context of a dispute, the aim is also primarily to settle the dispute but in a way which might enable the parties to deal better with differences (with each other or others) in the future.  Creativity can be used to overcome the fixed-pie perception and transform a deadlocked situation into integrative win-win solution, enabling parties to think out-of-the-box to expand the pie.

 

The mediator might take the transformative approach, which treats conflict as an opportunity for moral growth and transformation, focusing on enhancing the parties’ relationship by empowering them to handle their own situations better and to recognize each other’s concerns. Success in transformative mediation means empowering the parties to deal better with differences in future, even though today’s dispute may remain unresolved.

 

With iGolder, the mediator joins the chat, helping the buyer and seller finding a solution.  The mediator cannot force either party to settle the dispute or to accept a particular solution.  The mediator cannot issue any demerit point, however may forward the conversation to iGolder if a member was not respectful towards another.  The cost of mediation is usually shared between the parties.

 

Arbitration

When members cannot resolve the dispute themselves, either through negotiation or with the assistance of a mediator, they can agree to refer the matter to arbitration. Arbitration is a faster, simpler, and less expensive alternative to litigation.  In arbitration, a neutral person (or panel of neutral people) hears the facts and makes a decision.  Usually one arbitrator hears a small case. A panel of three arbitrators may be appointed to hear a large, complex case, if the parties so desire. The ability to select the arbitrator is a critical advantage in arbitration over litigation. It enables the parties to select individuals who are uniquely qualified, based on their education and experience in the subject area. The usual result is a decision with which the parties are more satisfied.

 

iGolder has a special name for arbitrators; we call them Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist, or ADR Specialist, or simply Specialist. The parties can agree in advance on the ground rules for the arbitration, and optionally pick in advance their ADR Specialist., The Safetransit™ interface makes it easy for the parties to upload and update the terms & conditions before making a trade.  They may also choose their ADR Specialist at the same time, or pick a specialist only when a dispute occurs.  If the parties cannot agree on a specialist, then iGolder becomes the final arbitrator of the dispute.  iGolder is not a specialist however.  If the dispute is small, we will do our best to make a fair decision, otherwise we will ask help from someone who is a specialist in the subject matter, or simply appoint a specialist to resolve the dispute.  It is in our interest to render arbitration as fair as possible, because we want to keep all our members.  Ideally, we aim to reconcile both parties, where the buyer and seller will find beneficial to trade again, leaving behind the dispute as a quarrel of the past.

 

The ADR Specialist then makes a decision based on the facts, any contract between the members such as chat conversations, documents uploaded as Safetransit Conditions, emails, and the applicable laws.  With iGolder, the specialist must also explain how the decision was reached, determine the award and make a decision on costs.  The arbitrator may issue a demerit point to the "guilty" with sufficient evidence of dishonesty.  Both parties have the opportunity to rate the specialist's performance, such as expertise in the subject, politeness and respect, convenience, prompt resolution, and of course, fees.

 

Mediation - Arbitration (MedArb)

MedArb's most appealing attribute is that the dispute will be resolved, one way or the other. Ideally, the parties will resolve their own dispute through the mediation process, resulting in a mutually satisfactory agreement. However, if the matter does not resolve in the mediation process, the neutral will put on the arbitrator's hat and depending on the methodology used (hearing or no hearing, as decided by the parties), complete the arbitration process, culminating in the rendering of an award. The dispute will effectively be resolved and the parties may move on to bigger and better things.

 

Arbitration - Mediation (ArbMed)

This is the reverse of MedArb.  The arbitrator’s award is sealed and is not revealed while the arbitrator proceeds to conduct a mediation. If the mediation is successful, the settlement agreement between the parties governs the resolution of the dispute and the award is never unsealed. However, if mediation fails to settle all issues, the arbitrator-mediator will unseal the arbitral award and deliver it to the parties to resolve the dispute. This procedure places the parties, during the mediation phase, in a position of deciding whether they want to control the outcome of their dispute by working out a solution or whether they want to be bound by the unknown solution imposed upon them by the arbitrator. ArbMed avoids the potential for manipulation that can take place in the MedArb procedure since a decision has been made before mediation begins.

 

The use of ArbMed is a safe and common sense procedure for any dispute that is required to be arbitrated since there is no downside to attempting to mediate the dispute after the arbitration but before the award is announced.

 

Benefits of ADR

The following list summarizes the advantages of using the Alternative Dispute Resolution process, mostly regarding mediation:

 

  • Lower Costs / Less Time.  ADR processes may save you both time and money. They are generally faster and less complex than proceeding through the court system, and that can mean a savings in legal fees and court costs.  You can therefore resume business and focus on your core competences.
  • Maintaining Business Relationships.  Disputes often involve parties who have a business relationship and will need to continue to work together after the dispute is resolved. These ADR methods encourage people to work together at resolving the disagreement which often results in improved business relationships and perhaps in fewer new disputes.
  • Getting at the Root of the Problem.  Many disputes are the result of underlying problems. ADR processes can get at the issues which contributed to creating the dispute. At the same time, they work towards a solution that is satisfactory for everyone involved.
  • Expert Decision Makers.  The issues surrounding a dispute may involve technology and technical matters that are difficult for a layperson to visualize and comprehend.  In litigation, the best attorney or the party who presents the best case often win, regardless of who is actually right or wrong.
  • Flexibility.  There is much more room for creativity when you resolve your dispute yourself or with the help of a third party, rather than going to court. You can work together to arrive at a solution that meets the needs of all parties.
  • Control.  You will have more control over both the process and the outcome.  Both parties have the opportunity to check the background and experience of the specialist unless specified in the dispute resolution section of their contract.  Parties usually agree when they find a specialist who is knowledgeable and experienced in the field, and who is fair and equitable to both parties.  In civil litigation, you have no options in the choice of your judge, and the judge’s responsibility is to interpret and rule on matters of law, not the contract you agreed upon.
  • Predictability of Outcome.  The outcome of litigation is often characterized as an "all-or-nothing" result.  In the ADR procedures such as mediation, the outcome is based on the extend of the parties' willingness to compromise, rather than than being imposed on them.  The final settlement, as a reflection of each party's respective business interests, thus has a much more predictable quality.
  • Confidentiality.  Dispute resolution process and results are kept private and confidential.  There are certain circumstances where the law does require disclosure of information though, such as the "duty to report" suspected or confirmed child abuse, however such "disputes" are unlikely to apply to iGolder.
  • Limited Discovery.  Disputants’ attorneys, if involved in the mediation or arbitration, will rarely pursue the burdensome fishing expeditions that can occur in ordinary litigations.
  • Personal Satisfaction.  You are more likely to be satisfied with both the process and outcome because you chose the ADR process and played a more active role in resolving your dispute and designing a solution that is best for you.
  • Agreements That Last.  Parties are more likely to comply with an agreement that they helped design rather than one that was imposed on them.

 

iGolder Dispute Resolutions

If you wish to initiate a dispute against another iGolder member, please visit our dispute procedure rules to learn about your available options, such as the necessary steps and the costs involved.

 

Since August 1st, 2013 iGolder is no longer accepting new accounts and balances can only be redeemed. During the past years, we have been recommending Bitcoin more than our own payment system. We believe in physical gold ownership, and developed iGolder as a mechanism for people to acquire physical gold by trading with one another.

Since iGolder has a central point of failure (our server may be raided by thugs wearing some kind of uniform), we feet it is safer for us to cease operations. The iGolder experiment has been personally rewarding as we met many gold enthusiasts and also learned about Bitcoin in the process. For those who have no idea what Bitcoin is, we recommend doing your own research. Bitcoin is far superior to iGolder in every way, both in privacy and security as our server is always vulnerable to confiscation. Bitcoin is a communication protocol with a built-in "escrow service" capable of protecting both the buyer and the seller, rendering our Safetransit completely redundant. To learn more about the Bitcoin protocol and its feature, please watch "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD4L7xDNCmA (Bitcoin 2012 London: Mike Hearn).

For those having gold in their iGolder account, we will ship the physical metal to anyone having more than 1 ounce of gold, assuming the owner is willing to assume the shipping costs. For smaller quantities, we offer to settle in Bitcoin, however we will also settle with any other reasonable payment system. We will give everyone at least two full years (until 2016) to contact us to claim their gold. After that period, any unclaimed gold will go to fund an economic development project in Honduras helping local people to become entrepreneurs.

We sincerely wish you the best in life and hope to keep in contact with you.

Yours in liberty,
The iGolder Team.


Update 2014: Since we announced we no longer accept gold transfers, we have received countless emails asking to keep the free gold charts and the PGP encryption tools. We plan to keep running the domain iGolder.com for both the gold charts and the encryption tools. Better, we are developing state of the art open-source software for a secure decentralized social network with a built-in wallet. We will announce when we have a product ready for use. Stay tuned!