National Center for Dispute Settlement FAQ


What is the role of NCDS?

NCDS is a neutral administrator of the dispute resolution process. The function of NCDS is to provide a conduit between the Arbitrator and the parties for the transmitting of information, evidence, requests, and decisions. NCDS keeps the process moving forward under its Rules. NCDS is not the decision maker and cannot second guess an independent Arbitrator that has heard the proofs and evidence presented by the parties, has deliberated, and has made a decision.


What is the role of the Arbitrator?

The Arbitrator is an independent, third party neutral, who has been trained as an Arbitrator and has sufficient subject matter knowledge to make a fair, impartial and reasonable decision.


What if I have questions about the arbitration process, Rules, or what to do next?

You may always call a NCDS Case Administrator, at 1.800.777.8119, to help guide you. You should note that once an Arbitrator has been appointed, it is the Arbitrator that determines issues regarding the process.  Your NCDS Case Administrator can help guide you, but ultimately the Arbitrator will make the decision.


What do I need to do to prepare for the arbitration hearing?
  • Read and understand the arbitration rules, your state's lemon law, the Federal Act known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and the Uniform Commercial Code, all of which the arbitrator may take into consideration to decide your case.
  • Read the related documents pertaining to your vehicle (e.g. warranty, Owner's Manual and Owner's Warranty Rights booklets, if available). 
  • Make an outline of your case so you are prepared to present your position. 
  • Be prepared to support your position with documents and/or testimony. 
  • You are required to provide copies of your supporting documentation to all parties. Please submit all documents to NCDS prior to the hearing for us to make the copies and to disburse to the other parties and the Arbitrator.  If you bring copies of documents to the hearing, you must bring enough copies for all parties.  


What should I do at the hearing?
  • Arrive on time.
  • Provide any evidence that supports your claim. 
  • Where appropriate, show the Arbitrator the conditions related to your claim through a test drive or observation of your vehicle.  If a test drive is taken, you will be expected to show valid proof of insurance, and a valid driver's license.
  • Be sure all filed issues have been addressed at the hearing, do not raise "new" issues. 
  • Be prepared to defend any Affirmative Defenses that may be presented by the Manufacturer, such as a failure to maintain the vehicle, modification, after-market parts, an abuse of the vehicle, etc.
  • Before the hearing is closed, be sure you have provided the Arbitrator, and the other parties, all of your evidence. No further evidence can be presented after the hearing unless the Arbitrator holds the hearing open for the receipt of further evidence.


What if I need an adjournment?

Any request for an adjournment must be made in writing to your NCDS Case Administrator. The Arbitrator will review the request, and any comments from the other party, and make a decision. If the Arbitrator believes there is "good cause," the Arbitrator can approve the request for adjournment and will reschedule the hearing. If the request is denied by the Arbitrator, the hearing will be held as originally scheduled.


Why haven't I received the Arbitrator's decision even though the time period in the Rules has passed?

Once the Arbitrator renders, signs, and dates the decision, it is sent to NCDS to be processed and sent to all parties. This can add a few days from the date the decision is rendered by the Arbitrator to when the parties actually receive the decision. As always feel free to contact the NCDS Case Administrator assigned to your case with any questions.


Can NCDS change the Arbitrator's decision?

NO. The Arbitrator alone is the decision maker.


What if I disagree with the Arbitrator's Award?

The answer to this question depends upon the specific NCDS dispute mechanism process that applies to your case. Typically, where an Arbitration Agreement provides for final and binding arbitration, you are bound by the decision but may seek judicial review of the Award, in Court, based upon very limited grounds which are described in State Statutes or the Federal Arbitration Act. In this legal process, Courts do not redetermine the merits, but may modify or vacate the Award based upon procedural or due process issues.


Certain NCDS programs which comply with the Federal Regulations promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission under the Magnuson-Moss Consumer Warranty Act (generally the Automobile Warranty Programs), are not binding on the consumer and the consumer is free to accept or reject the Award. In those programs you will receive a letter from NCDS requesting whether you accept or reject the decision. In those programs, you may reject an Award with which you do not agree, and may pursue other legal remedies, including the use of Small Claims Court.


What is a "Request for Modification and/or Clarification" under the Rules?

If there is an apparent mistake in a name or description in an Award, it can be corrected through the use of a "Request for Modification and/or Clarification" without taking the matter to Court. The Arbitrator can modify a decision if the Arbitrator finds he/she did not have the authority to make a particular decision. The Arbitrator cannot redetermine the merits of the case to simply change the decision at the request of any party.