Arbitration and the Military Lending Act: What to do if you’re in the Military and a Business tries to push you into Arbitration

Being pushed into arbitration while actively serving in the military can put you into an impossible situation. Not only might you not receive proper notices in a timely manner, but your military service may make it impossible for you to attend any proceedings. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, mandatory arbitration clauses, such as those seen in apartment lease agreements, have caused some problems but the extent of their effects is unknown. Needless to say, a business attempting to push you into arbitration while you are on active military service is not only a bad situation, but it may also be illegal. 

What Could I Be Called Into Arbitration For?

A business can begin an arbitration case regarding a variety of issues. While apartment leases are a common cause, a business can begin an arbitration case over many other issues including contracts, installment agreements, other agreements and more. Any time you sign an agreement, in fact, check to see if it contains an arbitration clause. Chances are good that it does. 

What Is Arbitration?

The term arbitration simply refers to the settling of a dispute through an arbiter rather than a court. An arbiter is someone who listens to both sides of the case and then makes a decision on who is correct and who is incorrect. Cases can be decided by a single arbiter, or in some cases, by a group of arbiters. Arbitration decisions or awards are generally considered to be legally binding on both sides and enforceable in a court of law. 

Arbitration can have some advantages over using a court of law, according to Nolo.com. These advantages may include lower cost, more flexibility, privacy, less time and more. 

What If I Am On Active Service And Get Called Into Arbitration?

Being on active military service can put you places on the earth that you never knew existed. Working in the military can also keep you busy, very busy in fact, that free time is a luxury. Neither of these issues are favorable for being named in an arbitration case. It may be impossible, for example, for a servicemember to get to the necessary location to give his or her side of the story. The time necessary to do so may also be in very short supply, and may be impossible to do without taking a leave from the military. For these and other reasons, pushing a servicemember into arbitration may be illegal. SCRA guidelines prohibit such action by a business. 

If you are a servicemember and receive notice that a business is trying to push you into arbitration, check out your rights under SCRA first. The easiest way to do so is to consult an attorney with expert knowledge of SCRA as well as arbitration laws. If you are facing an arbitration case, give us a call today or visit us online at Bell Law, LLC. Our expert legal staff is here to help and can provide you with any information you require while also answering any questions you may have. 

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