AAA Not Responsive to Consumers

At 10:08 PM 10/14/2003 -0400, you wrote:


I have just begun to learn about arbitration and the effects it has on consumers.

I tried to get to arbitration (AAA) during a dispute with Lindal Cedar Homes and their dealer in Maryland. Lindal tried their best to force arbitration to Washington state. At least my attorney was against arbitration and understood that I had little choice, but he was able to force it to Maryland.

Our dealer then tried to avoid it like the plague. The dealers attorney even scuttled our first attempt at mandatory arbitration after the dealer dodged mediation 5 times. He sent a letter to AAA advising them that all parties agreed to dispense with AAA! We never agreed to this!

After switching attorneys we were able to get the dealer to waive arbitration (why I'll never know) but we got them into court and won a default judgement because our dealer didn't want to show there either. In an appeal the dealers attorney tried to get the court to compel arbitration......... Lindal finally gave in and gave us all our money back. I guess they figured we would battle them all the way to a judgement. I'm sorry for giving in now. I would have preferred the judgement on paper rather than the money!

Well... enough of my distaste for arbitration and what it really means. I have decided to join the ranks of angry consumers to help abolish arbitration. I have just joined HADD ( and have begun the long process of learning how to educate others and help win this battle!

Below is my e-mail trail between AAA and myself requesting a complete copy of their rules and regs in printed form. At first it would seem they might be willing to work with me, then they pretty much tell me (the lowly consumer) to go get it myself! In either case, they do not seem very enthusiastic about making it easy to provide this information...AND notice no contact name or number or anything that would make me think they are glad to help me in any way!... This simply says that prior to signing any agreement mandating AAA/arbitration that the seller will more than likely NOT provide you with a written, current copy of ALL the rules regarding the arbitration clause in your contract!

(Must have been just as confusing to My Lindal dealer because she wanted nothing to do with it either!) It was in HER contract but when we tried to get them into mediation/arbitration her attorney complained that AAA is just too expensive and they would rather not! Too bad I don't have this in writing!!

This would seem to me to be a serious disclosure issue! Or an intentional effort on behalf of AAA and the seller to hide critical information from the customer to ensure sufficient confidence is gained for a sale! A false sense of confidence that will surely result in financial harm to the consumer and financial gain for AAA and the seller. Hmmm... that conspiracy to defraud, interstate thing again.... before I look it up, why does the word racketeering come to mind?

Not only that but, AAA has no apparent policy or procedure in place to advise the customer in writing of their guidelines for utilizing arbitration! Other than online access. This is unlike the BBB (just an example...) or your state and federal agencies! When we filed for arbitration I certainly did NOT receive anything regarding my rights from AAA. Unless my attorney did, I still did NOT receive anything.
Somehow... I don't see where the "FAIR" part comes into play yet?????

Ed Bond