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  Dispute Resolution Process
How this works
The Dispute Resolution Process is an online system for the tracking and resolution of transaction or advertising related disputes.  If two members are unable to settle a dispute via private communication, this process allows Audiogon and its membership to help mediate.  This process also provides Audiogon with a means to quickly warn other potential traders and/or suspend an account if there is strong evidence of dishonest activity.

The basic
* steps of this process are:
 Initiating party submits a Request for Dispute Resolution.
 The system notifies the other party and asks for a Response.
 The respondent will be given three days to submit a Response.
 The initiating party will then have one day to submit a final Rebuttal.
 Audiogon considers both parties' statements, proposes a Resolution.
 Or Audiogon may open the Dispute in the forums for member input. 


Important* The above is a very brief synopsis only.  Below are critical details that you must read before participating.  By submitting a Request for resolution, or by responding to a dispute, you are stating that you have read and agree to all of the terms below.


Mechanics of this process
 "Dispute" versus "Crime"
 What kinds of disputes will this resolve?
 How to initiate the resolution process?
 What happens after the process is initiated?
 How are disputes resolved?
 How does Mediation work?
 What kinds resolutions are expected?
 What if one party will not cooperate?
 

The fine print
 The Resolution Process is entirely voluntary
 Disputes may not be the subject of legal proceedings
 Audiogon is held harmless and indemnified
 Unreasonable refusal to participate
 Dispute Resolutions may be publicly disclosed
 Member comments may be accepted

Proceed with a Dispute
 REQUEST a Dispute Resolution
 RESPOND to a Dispute notificaton

  Mechanics of this process
"Dispute" versus "Crime"
The vast majority of complaints in the past have been centered around miscommunication or honest errors.  It is very rare that transactions on Audiogon result in the commission of a crime or the perpetration of a fraudulent scheme. Nonetheless, we are aware that the internet marketplace, like any other, attracts those with dishonest intent. If we are to assist Members who may be affected by such dishonest participants, we must be informed as quickly as possible with all of the information available. This process, as described below, allows Audiogon to collect and disseminate vital information quickly.


What kinds of disputes may be resolved through this System? 
Disputes that may be resolved through Audiogon’s system are limited to those involving transactions between a “Buyer” and a “Seller” of goods offered on Audiogon. Those transactions may result from Auctions, Classifieds, Demos, or Catalog ads appearing on Audiogon’s web site; sales occurring other than through Auctions may be referred to as “Direct Sales”. No other transactions resulting in disputes between individuals or other entities, whether connected to or associated with Audiogon in any manner, may be submitted for resolution. 
 

How Does the Dispute Resolution Process Begin
Either a Buyer or a Seller may start the Resolution process by filing a Request for Dispute Resolution (“Request”). Such Requests must be submitted on the Request Form available via the Disputes link in the Help section of this website,  or accessed directly by clicking:
Request Form.

Requests must be submitted within 30 days after completion of an Auction or Direct Sale. “Completion” in the context of an Auction Sale means the closing date set by the Seller. For Direct Sales “completion” means the date when the Buyer and Seller allegedly reach an agreement on all material terms of the sale.  In case of unusual circumstances related to transactions, accommodation may be given to a resolution of such disputes without a rigid application of the 30-day deadline.  Requests to resolve Feedback issues must be submitted within 30 days after the feedback was posted in all cases.


What Happens When Audiogon Receives a Request Form? 
Once Audiogon receives a Request Form, it may take one of two courses of action: 

(1) If the Dispute Request Form clearly indicates a crime or civil fraud may have been committed, the initiating party will immediately be contacted via email with suggestions for contacting appropriate law enforcement or other authorities. Audiogon staff will also search its database for other parties who may have been contacted by the alleged perpetrator, and provide all affected parties with appropriate information concerning the alleged activity.

(2) If the Dispute Request Form is complete and understandable, Audiogon will transmit the Request Form to the other participant in the transaction at issue. That party shall be allowed three days to submit a response via the Dispute Response Form, using a link contained in the notification email. The two parties involved attempt to workout their own resolution. Audiogon staff will monitor the Dispute processes, but not take any active role in resolving the issue.

How Are Disputes Resolved? 
A Dispute becomes “At Issue” as soon as Audiogon has received a complete and understandable Dispute Request Form and a like Dispute Response Form involving the relevant transaction. If a Dispute Response Form is not submitted by the affected party, after an additional 24 hour period for response, the complaint will be deemed At Issue. The two parties involved attempt to workout their own resolution.  

If Disputes At Issue reach an impasse, either party can request Audiogon to act as a Mediator in the Dispute. The Audiogon mediator works to develop a fair, mutually agreeable solution. The mediator's role is to facilitate positive, solution-oriented discussion between the parties. He or she does NOT act as a judge or arbitrator. The mediator can only recommend a resolution if the parties request it. Except in unusual circumstances, disputes should be resolved in no more than six days after they are At Issue. All parties to Mediated disputes will receive a written resolution of those disputes via email from Audiogon’s staff. “Appeals” of Audiogon’s written dispute resolutions will not be permitted.

How does Mediation work? 

What Mediation IS:
- It is a voluntary process in which the parties work with a mediator (a neutral and impartial person) to find a mutually acceptable solution to the problem.
- It works when both parties participate, and are willing to compromise.
- It can be very effective in resolving disputes and misunderstanding if both parties participate in the process and are willing to compromise, and look for creative solution options.

What Mediation IS NOT:
- Mediation is not a court proceeding.
- Mediation is not arbitration.
- Mediation is not a process that should make you nervous or uncomfortable! The mediation process is designed to give both parties equal roles and responsibilities.

Either party in a dispute may enlist the services of Audiogons' Mediator. Depending on the nature of the dispute, additional information may be required for the Mediator to fully understand the issue and work towards a mutually satisfactory resolution. For instance, if shipping damage has occured and is a factor in the dispute, then items such as photos of the damage, copies of damage claims and the like may be requested. Money transactions may require copies of money orders, PayPal or Credit Card information. Another situation would be if the item(s) received were not as advertised, or some internal damage is suspect. In those senarios it may become necessary to have the item checked out by a reputable dealer/service location. The results of the inspection may be useful in resolving these types of disputes. 


What Sort of Resolutions May Result from the Process? 
As you will note, both the Request for Resolution and Dispute Response forms have fields requiring the parties to specify the results they seek. Since a great number of disputes involve feedback, we expect resolutions concerning the applicability and nature of feedback to be among the most frequently made. 

Other resolutions will necessarily involve adjustments or rescissions of the disputed transactions themselves. These sorts of resolutions are possible only where the parties agree to be bound by the written decisions of Audiogon. This is explained in the Fine Print, which controls the legal aspects of the Dispute Resolution Process.


What if one of the parties refuses to go along with the resolution? 
The Dispute Resolution Process is completely voluntary. As is explained in the Fine Print, however, when both parties agree to be bound by Audiogon’s Mediation decision reached through the process, they may be penalized if they refuse to comply with the resolution. Moreover, in certain circumstances, both parties may be bound to such decisions even if the Respondent party refuses to participate.  Refusal to follow the recommendations of Audiogon may result in the temporary or permanent suspension of that person's access privileges.


The bottom line is this:
Audiogon is a private, for-profit corporation that owns and controls its web site. We reserve the right to accept or deny access to any user, at any time, for any reason we deem appropriate. Our goal, though, is to provide everyone a “fair shake.” Those who refuse to extend their hand through cyberspace in a spirit of friendship and cooperation will not be welcome on Audiogon’s web site. It really is that simple.
  The Fine Print
VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION
Audiogon’s Dispute Resolution System is entirely voluntary.  Except in circumstances when Audiogon’s staff is alerted by third parties to instances of alleged wrongdoing by buyers or sellers of goods on this web site, we will not attempt to resolve transactional disputes unless a party to a transaction commences the resolution process by submitting a Request for Dispute Resolution form (sometimes referred to below as “Request”).

UNREASONABLE REFUSAL
Parties who unreasonably refuse to submit a Response may be subject to sanctions.  Any entity to whom or which Audiogon, in its sole discretion, transmits a full and complete Request for Dispute Resolution Form who or which refuses unreasonably to submit a Response to such Request may be sanctioned by Audiogon. The reasonableness of a refusal to submit a Response to a full and complete Request shall be determined by Audiogon in its sole discretion. Sanctions for such unreasonable refusal may include, but not be limited to, Audiogon’s issuing a written resolution of the dispute absent a response, the suspension or revocation of Audiogon Membership privileges, or both.  

PUBLIC DISCLOSURE
Disputes and Audiogon’s resolution of them may become a matter of public disclosure.  It is the intent of Audiogon to create an archive of disputes and their resolutions that will be accessible to Audiogon Members. Such an archive will be searchable using Audiogon’s search engine.  Disputes that are resolved absent a Response will not be made public without the express consent of the initiating party who submitted the Request for Dispute Resolution. If such consent is not given, Audiogon may, in its sole discretion, publish a synopsis of the dispute and its resolution without identifying the parties to the dispute or intentionally providing other identifying information.  Disputes that are resolved after they become At Issue will be summarized by Audiogon, in its sole discretion, and be made publicly accessible, together with Audiogon’s written resolution. Where necessary, in Audiogon’s sole discretion, Audiogon will include in its synopsis of the dispute the reasoning process and standards that led to its resolution. 

MEMBER COMMENTS
Comments from Members about disputes and their resolution by Audiogon may be made solely in the Dispute section of Audiogon’s web site.  Members who wish to post comments about disputes and their resolution may do so only with respect to archived information in the Dispute section of Audiogon’s web site. All such posts shall be monitored and may not be displayed unless and until Audiogon’s staff has determined, in their sole discretion, that the proposed post adds to the base of knowledge for which the dispute archives are maintained.  No posts concerning disputes and their resolution may be made in chat rooms or Discussion Forums available on Audiogon’s web site. All such posts in these areas shall be deleted and posters may be subject to sanctions.

MEDIATED RESOLUTIONS ARE BINDING
Resolutions of Mediated Disputes are Final. Resolutions of disputes that are At Issue are binding upon the parties. When such resolutions require a party to the At Issue dispute to take an action of some kind, that party will be given a specified time to do so in the written resolution. The failure of a party to take an action required by the resolution shall be sanctioned by Audiogon, in its sole discretion. Such sanctions may include, but not be limited to, the suspension or revocation of Audiogon Membership privileges. Resolution of disputes not At Issue shall likewise be binding upon the parties if Audiogon determines, in its sole discretion, that the party to whom or which a completed Request for Resolution has been sent has refused unreasonably to submit a Response. The failure of a party to take any action required by such resolution shall result in the imposition of sanctions in the same manner as required for At Issue Disputes.


INDEPENDENT OF LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
Disputes may not be the subject of legal proceedings.  The submission of a Request for Dispute Resolution serves as a certification by the initiating party that he or she has not initiated or responded to legal proceedings of any nature whatsoever concerning the relevant dispute . In this context, the term “legal proceedings” includes, but is not limited to, cases in courts, administrative agencies or those submitted to arbitrators, mediators or facilitators. Parties submitting Dispute Response Forms likewise certify through their submission that they have not initiated or responded to legal proceedings of any nature concerning the relevant dispute. 

Any dispute for which legal proceedings have been initiated by any party or third party (if known) is ineligible for consideration through Audiogon’s Dispute Resolution System. Proceedings submitted for consideration through Audiogon’s Dispute Resolution System that subsequently become the subjects of legal proceedings initiated by any party to the relevant dispute shall be withdrawn from consideration by Audiogon. It is the responsibility of the parties to the dispute to inform Audiogon immediately if legal proceedings concerning that dispute are initiated by any entity. The failure of a party to inform Audiogon of the initiation of a legal proceeding during the pendency of a matter submitted for consideration through Audiogon’s Dispute Resolution Process may result in Audiogon’s taking whatever action it deems appropriate concerning the party or parties with knowledge of the initiation of such legal proceeding. Those actions may include, but not be limited to, the suspension or revocation of Audiogon Membership privileges. 

INDEMNITY
Parties using the Dispute Resolution System agree to hold Audiogon harmless and indemnify it for any harm that might occur through its use.  Any person or other entity who submits a Request for Dispute Resolution Form to Audiogon agrees to hold Audiogon, its agents, representatives, employees, attorneys, affiliates and assigns harmless from all damages and claims of any nature arising from or related to the dispute or disputes that are the subject of the Request. Should any entity institute legal proceedings or take any other action against Audiogon, it agents, representatives, employees, attorneys, affiliates or assigns, arising out of or connected to the dispute or disputes that are subject to the Request, the party submitting such Request agrees to indemnify Audiogon and those other entities hereinabove described for all costs of any kind reasonably required to defend against or respond to such legal proceeding or other action.  Any person or other entity who submits a Dispute Response Form (“Response”) to Audiogon agrees to hold Audiogon, its agents, representatives, employees, attorneys, affiliates and assigns harmless from all damages and claims of any nature arising from or related to the dispute or disputes that are the subject of the Response. Should any entity institute legal proceedings or take any other action against Audiogon, it agents, representatives, employees, attorneys, affiliates or assigns, arising out of or connected to the dispute or disputes that are subject to the Response, the party submitting such Response agrees to indemnify Audiogon and those other entities hereinabove described for all costs of any kind reasonably required to defend against or respond to such legal proceeding or other action.