FAIR REPUTATIONS
(A Bargaining System Offered and Administered by Fair Outcomes, Inc. )
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The Fair Reputations System consists of a simple four-step process that can be used to resolve disputes arising out of e-commerce transactions.

This page provides access to a version of the System that you can initiate if someone claims (or has submitted "negative feedback" to the effect) that you should make a payment, refund or credit in connection with an online transaction. By using this page to "Issue an Invitation," you can demonstrate that you provided the other party with an opportunity to resolve the matter in a fair and efficient manner. This, in turn, allows you to demonstrate that any negative feedback submitted by the other party in connection with the transaction should be discounted or eliminated in calculating your online reputation rating.

To initiate a use of the System, or to run a free test, click on Issue an Invitation. To respond to another party's initiation of the System, click on Respond to an Invitation. A summary of the four-step process appears below.

   "The system... is very straightforward and painless to use. ... I don't see any valid reason why the outcomes from these cases wouldn't be considered in reputation calculations when the certificates are submitted to online marketplaces."

(Vangie Beal, Ecommerce Guide Magazine, May 21, 2008)


The Four-Step Process

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
You deposit a confidential settlement offer (X) into the System. This allows you to "issue an invitation." The invitation lets the other party confidentially use the System to learn if X equals or exceeds some value (Y) that it deems acceptable. If it does, the matter settles for X. If not, the invitation allows Y to be revised up to a fixed deadline. If the matter does not settle, the invitation gives the other party an opportunity to have an impartial arbitrator make a binding determination as to which is fairer: X or Y. You receive a certificate that shows your use of the System and the results of that use.

 

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the Four Steps

Step Summary Answers to FAQs
Step 1

     You deposit a settlement offer into the System and set a deadline. The amount of your offer ("X") is kept confidential unless it is accepted before the deadline or you later win binding arbitration.

     You agree that, if the case does not settle and the other party (the "2nd Party" or "he") elects arbitration at Step 3, then you will abide by the outcome of that process. You also agree that any use that the 2nd Party may make of the System will not be disclosed to you by the System unless the matter either settles or goes to arbitration. This completes the process of issuing an invitation.

Why is X kept confidential?

This allows you to make a fair offer without having to worry that it will become a starting point for further demands if the matter is not fully resolved via the System.

Why do I agree to Final-Offer Arbitration?

This makes it clear that, in formulating X, you had a strong incentive to be fair.

Why is he allowed to act confidentially?

This deprives him of an excuse for failing to use the System to make a fair proposal: he can't claim that his use of the System might make him look "weak".
Step 2

     The 2nd Party is invited to confidentially interact with the System and to submit confidential settlement proposals prior to the deadline (i.e., "I hereby agree to accept the offer if X is greater than or equal to Y").

     If the 2nd Party submits a proposal, the System determines if X ≥ Y. If it is, then the matter settles. If it is not, then the System invites him to submit a different value for Y, repeating this invitation on each such occasion up to the deadline.

Why does he get X if X is greater than Y?

This deprives him of a second excuse for failing to use the System to make a fair proposal: he can't claim a fear of losing some portion of the "surplus" if X > Y.

Why does he get to revise Y if X < Y?

This deprives him of the third and final excuse that he might claim to have for failing to respond with a fair proposal: he can't claim that he would have submitted a different proposal had he known that X < Y.
Step 3

     If the 2nd Party submits a value for Y that does not produce a settlement then, as an alternative to revising it, he can elect to go to Final-Offer Arbitration.

     If the 2nd Party elects Final-Offer Arbitration, then he must elect at that time to have the arbitration be (a) binding on both parties regardless of who wins, or (b) binding on both parties if, and only if, the 2nd Party wins.

What is "Final-Offer Arbitration?"

The arbitrator must select either X or Y, depending upon the arbitrator's assessment of which was fairer given the circumstances of the case. Learn More About the Final-Offer Arbitration Process.

Why should I allow him to opt to have it be non-binding unless he wins?

This deprives him of the ability to try to justify a refusal to go to Final-Offer Arbitration by claiming that, although he had proposed a fair value for Y, he was nevertheless concerned that he might lose.
Step 4

     If the matter settles prior to the deadline or results in an agreement to go to arbitration the System will give each party a "Success Certificate." If not, the System will give you a "Failure Certificate."

What does the "Certificate" do?

Regardless of the outcome, it will allow you to demonstrate that you treated the other party in a fair manner, justifying a discount of any negative feedback relating to that transaction. (Note that a finding that either party later failed to abide by an outcome set forth in a Success Certificate will expose that party to legal action and result in that party being blacklisted and barred from future use of the System).

 

The Four Possible Outcomes of the Four-Step Process

As a result of the actions that you took at Step 1, and regardless of the choices made by the 2nd Party, there are only four possible outcomes that can emerge from the process. Each of these outcomes will justify a discount or elimination of any negative feedback submitted by the other party in calculating your online reputation rating.

The Four Possible Outcomes Significance of the Outcome
Outcome No. 1: The 2nd Party agrees to a Settlement prior to the deadline (because X ≥ Y). The matter is resolved: the 2nd Party achieves an outcome that is equal to or more favorable than what he proposed.
Outcome No. 2: The 2nd Party agrees to go to Final-Offer Arbitration, with the outcome being binding upon both parties. The matter is resolved: each side will either get the outcome that it proposed or will get an outcome that an impartial arbitrator deems to be more fair (i.e., X or Y).
Outcome No. 3: The 2nd Party agrees to go to Final-Offer Arbitration, with the outcome being binding upon the 2nd Party only if the 2nd Party wins.
If the 2nd Party wins, the matter is resolved: the 2nd Party will get Y because Y was deemed to be fairer than X by an impartial arbitrator.
If the 2nd Party does not win, the matter is not resolved solely because (a) the 2nd Party declined to be bound unless he won, and (b) an impartial arbitrator concluded that X was fairer than Y.
Outcome No. 4: The 2nd Party does not agree to a settlement prior to the deadline and does not agree to go to Final-Offer Arbitration. The matter is not resolved solely because the 2nd Party either failed to respond at all or responded but failed to settle or accept an impartial arbitration process.

 

The Solution Provided by the Fair Reputations System

     The Fair Reputations System allows you to demonstrate that you have provided the other party with an opportunity to achieve a full and fair resolution of the underlying dispute in a highly efficient and fair manner. This, in turn, allows you to demonstrate that any negative feedback submitted by the other party in connection with the transaction should be discounted or eliminated in calculating your online reputation rating. Once you have completed Step 1, you will have fully addressed any legitimate concerns (or self-serving excuses) that the other party might have had for declining to formulate, propose and pursue a fair outcome.

     (For general information about our company and the various systems that we offer, visit our company home page at Fair Outcomes, Inc. )

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