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Resolve a dispute with AT&T via arbitration

Resolve a dispute with AT&T via arbitration.


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Details

Here at AT&T, we remain committed to customer satisfaction. Part of that commitment is ensuring that any dispute a customer may have is resolved in a fair, effective, and efficient manner.

Most of the time that you have a concern about a bill or our service, that concern can be resolved quickly and to your satisfaction by chatting with us online or calling customer service. To reach customer service for an issue with your wireless service, the number is 800.331.0500 (611 from your AT&T wireless phone). For internet or TV support, the number is 800.288.2020. If you're still not satisfied, you may have your dispute resolved through binding arbitration before the American Arbitration Association ("AAA"). Alternatively, you may file an action in small claims court.

You can find a copy of our arbitration provision at att.com/disputeresolution. This document provides additional information on dispute resolution. Former AT&T customers as well as former customers of AT&T's predecessors (Cingular Wireless, Cricket Wireless, DIRECTV, the former AT&T Wireless, BellSouth Mobility, Ameritech Mobile, Pacific Bell Wireless, SBMS, SNET Mobility, and SBC Wireless) are entitled to have any dispute resolved under AT&T's current arbitration provision.

Arbitration defined
Arbitration is a process, not unlike court (but much less formal). It uses a neutral arbitrator instead of a judge or jury to hear evidence and issue a decision, known as an "award." This award is generally final and binding on the parties in the case. In addition, arbitration has more limited discovery than in court, and is subject to very limited review by courts.

Arbitration hearings are typically brief. For claims of $10,000 or less, you may choose whether the hearing takes place in person, by telephone, or solely on the basis of documents submitted to the arbitrator. (If you choose an in-person hearing, it will take place in the county/parish of your billing address.) You may retain an attorney to represent you in arbitration if you choose.

Arbitration will take place on an individual basis. The arbitrator can't consolidate the claims of more than one person without everyone's consent or proceed on a class-wide or representative basis. But arbitration doesn't affect the substance of your legal claims; arbitrators can award the same damages and relief that a court can award in an individual case.

Arbitrations under AT&T's arbitration provision will be administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA), a leading non-profit arbitration provider. The arbitration will use the AAA's Consumer Arbitration Rules as modified by AT&T's arbitration provision to make arbitration less expensive and more convenient for our customers. Because the AAA may update those rules from time to time, and because the applicable rules for any particular arbitration will be the ones in force at the time, please check the Consumer section on AAA's website to see the latest version.

For any non-frivolous claim that does not exceed $75,000, AT&T will pay all costs of arbitration, no matter who wins. Moreover, in arbitration you're entitled to recover attorneys' fees from AT&T to at least the same extent as you would be in court. In addition, under certain circumstances explained below, AT&T will pay you more than the amount of the arbitrator's award and will pay your attorney (if any) twice his or her reasonable attorneys' fees if the arbitrator awards you an amount that is greater than what AT&T has offered you to settle the dispute.

If you retained an attorney, he or she may help you answer any further questions you might have about arbitration.

Arbitrating a claim
You can arbitrate a claim against AT&T by taking the following steps:
  1. Submit a Notice of Dispute to AT&T's Legal Department. Before beginning an arbitration against AT&T, you must first notify us of your dispute and allow us an opportunity to resolve it without the need for arbitration. You may submit a Notice of Dispute online at att.com/noticeofdispute. Or you may print a Notice of Dispute (PDF, 181KB) and mail it to us at Manager—Dispute Resolution and Arbitration, AT&T, 1025 Lenox Park Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30319. Please fill out all of the information requested on the Notice of Dispute form, including (a) your name, (b) the account number, (c) the service to which the dispute pertains, (d) a description of the nature and basis of the claim or dispute; (e) an explanation of the specific relief sought and the basis for the calculation; and (f) your signature. Please provide as much information as you think would be helpful, including dates and specific amounts of money, if possible. In addition, if you have asked an attorney to submit your Notice of Dispute for you, the Notice also must include your signed statement authorizing AT&T to disclose private information about you (such as your account records and usage) to your attorney if necessary in resolving your claim. Your privacy is important to us and protected by law. Finally, please be sure to keep a copy of the Notice for your records.
  2. Wait 60 Days to See Whether the Dispute Can be Resolved Without Arbitration. If we haven't been able to resolve your dispute to your satisfaction within 60 days from when we received your Notice of Dispute (PDF, 181KB), you may start arbitration proceedings. Please be sure to retain a copy of any written settlement offers that we make, but note that the amount of any settlement offer that you or we make must not be shown to the arbitrator until after the arbitrator has resolved the merits of your claim.
  3. Complete a Demand for Arbitration. You can begin the arbitration by submitting a Demand for Arbitration, which is a statement containing basic information about the dispute: (a) the names, addresses and phone numbers of the parties involved (you and AT&T, in most cases); (b) a description of the dispute; (c) and a short statement of the relief you are seeking. The AAA provides a Demand for Arbitration form (PDF, 77KB) on its website. As an alternative, you may download an Arbitration Initiation Form (PDF, 185KB) that we created for our customers. You don't have to use this form, but it includes spaces for all the necessary information.
  4. Send Us a Copy of Your Demand for Arbitration. Complete the Demand for Arbitration and make at least three copies. Keep one copy for your records. Send one copy to us at Manager - Dispute Resolution and Arbitration, AT&T, 1025 Lenox Park Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30319.
  5. Submit a Copy of Your Demand to the AAA. Send the final copy of the Demand for Arbitration to the AAA Case Filing Services at 1101 Laurel Oak Road, Suite 100, Voorhees, NJ 08043. Please be sure to include (1) a copy of AT&T's arbitration provision (you may obtain a copy from our website); and (2) the appropriate AAA filing fee. If you had previously completed the Notice of Dispute process and your claim is for $75,000 or less, we'll promptly arrange for the AAA to reimburse you for the filing fee. The filing fee is generally $200, but the AAA may change the amount of the fee. You may obtain the amount of the fee by consulting the AAA's rules. Those rules may be obtained by visiting the Consumer section on AAA's website, or by calling the AAA at 800.778.7879. If you're unable to pay the AAA's filing fee, please inform us by writing a letter to the above address and we'll arrange to pay it directly if your claims are $75,000 or less and you completed the Notice of Dispute process. Alternatively, the AAA has a file online option, AAA WebFile. You may obtain more information about AAA WebFile on AAA's website. Because the AAA may change its filing procedures, please confirm them by either calling the AAA at 800.778.7879 or visiting the AAA's website. The AAA may change this information; please confirm it by calling the AAA at 800.778.7879 or visiting the Consumer section on AAA's website.
  6. Case Manager Assignment. Once the AAA receives your Demand for Arbitration, the AAA will assign your case to a Case Manager. The Case Manager will then send us both a confirmation letter and give AT&T 14 days to respond to your Demand.
  7. Appointment of Arbitrator. The AAA then will appoint an arbitrator and notify us both of that arbitrator's name and qualifications. The AAA requires all arbitrators to check for any past or present relationships with the parties, potential witnesses, and the parties' attorneys. If the arbitrator has any such relationship, the AAA will tell both you and us. The parties then will have seven days to inform the AAA of any objection to the AAA's choice of arbitrator. Note that all arbitrators must swear an oath for each case promising to be impartial and to abide by the AAA's Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes (PDF, 562KB). A copy of that Code may be obtained from the AAA's website.
  8. Preliminary Hearing. Once the arbitrator’s appointment has been confirmed, the AAA will schedule a conference call with the arbitrator, called the preliminary hearing. During this hearing, the arbitrator will discuss various procedural matters with the parties, such as scheduling the hearing, picking its location (within the county or parish of your billing address), and deciding whether the hearing will be in person, by videoconference, by telephone, or a “desk” arbitration in which the arbitrator resolves the dispute solely on the basis of the documents that you and we submit.
  9. Arbitrator's Decision. Within 14 days from the conclusion of the in-person or telephone hearing or from the submission of all written evidence to the arbitrator if a desk arbitration is chosen, the arbitrator will render a written decision. That decision will include the essential findings and conclusions upon which the arbitrator based his or her award.
  10. The Alternative Payment. If the arbitrator grants you relief that exceeds AT&T's last written settlement offer before the arbitrator is appointed, then AT&T will pay you the amount of the award, or $10,000, whichever is greater. If AT&T didn't make a written offer to settle the dispute, you will be entitled to receive this alternative payment if the arbitrator awards you any relief at all on the merits.
  11. Your Attorney's Premium. If you're entitled to the alternative payment, then AT&T will also pay your attorney, if any, twice the amount of attorneys' fees, and reimburse any expenses (including expert witness fees and costs) that your attorney reasonably accrued for investigating, preparing, and pursuing your claim in arbitration. Even if you're not entitled to this attorney premium, AT&T will reimburse you for your reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses if it is required to do so under applicable law. But you may not receive both the attorney premium and an award of attorneys' fees under a statute. Instead, you'll receive the greater amount. AT&T won't attempt to collect from you the attorneys' fees it incurs in arbitration even when permitted to do so under applicable law.
  12. Arbitration Costs in Frivolous Cases. If the arbitrator not only rules against you, but also rules that either the substance of your claim or the relief you requested in your Demand for Arbitration was either frivolous or brought for an improper purpose (as measured by the standards of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b)), then responsibility for the costs of arbitration will be set by the AAA's rules. For frivolous cases in which your demand is $10,000 or less, your share of the costs is currently limited to $200, though the AAA may change that amount. If the arbitrator makes this determination, you may be required to reimburse AT&T for paying your share of the arbitration costs.
  13. Arbitration Costs for Claims Exceeding $75,000 or if AT&T Files the Arbitration. If you initiate an arbitration in which you seek more than $75,000 in damages, the payment of AAA filing, administration, case management, hearing, and arbitrator fees will be governed by the AAA rules. Those rules may be downloaded from the Consumer section on AAA's website. If AT&T initiates the arbitration, it'll pay these costs regardless of the amount of its claim.

Frequently Asked Questions
These statements below address common questions regarding arbitration before the American Arbitration Association. These statements were prepared in consultation with and approved by the American Arbitration Association.

What is arbitration?
Arbitration is a process, not unlike court (but much less formal), where an independent neutral person hears evidence and issues a decision, known as an "award." This award is generally final and binding on the parties in the case.

Arbitration hearings are typically brief. For claims of $10,000 or less, you may choose whether the hearing takes place in person, by telephone, by videoconference, or solely on the basis of documents submitted to the arbitrator. (If you choose an in-person hearing, it will take place in the county or parish of your billing address.) You may retain an attorney to represent you in arbitration if you choose.

What is the American Arbitration Association and what role does it play?
The American Arbitration Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit, public service organization committed to the resolution of disputes through the use of arbitration, mediation and other voluntary procedures. Every year, more than 200,000 disputes are resolved by the Association in a range of areas including finance, construction, labor and employment, insurance and technology. The AAA has 30 offices in the United States and Europe.

As an administrative agency, the AAA processes a case from filing to closing, appointing arbitrators, setting hearings, transmitting documents and scheduling conference calls. The goal is to keep cases moving in a fair and impartial process until completion.
 
What kinds of disputes are covered by the AT&T Arbitration Program?
The arbitration clause in the contract between you and AT&T explains what kinds of disputes are covered. The AAA also applies its Consumer Arbitration Rules to disputes between you and AT&T. Consumers are not prohibited from seeking relief in a small claims court for disputes or claims within the scope of its jurisdiction, even in consumer arbitration cases filed by the business.
 
Who are the arbitrators?
Arbitrators are the independent third parties who hear the evidence and decide the outcomes of cases. They are independent contractors and not employees of the AAA or of AT&T. Arbitrators are carefully selected for their expertise and trained extensively by the AAA. In consumer cases, the AAA will appoint an arbitrator who is an attorney, unless the parties agree otherwise for example, on a case in which there are many financial records, the parties may agree to use an arbitrator who is an accountant instead of an attorney.

If the contract says I have to arbitrate my dispute, does that mean I can't go to court?
The AAA's Consumer Due Process Protocol gives either you or AT&T the option of going to small claims court if the amount of money you are seeking falls within the limits set for small claims courts in the state in which you live or operate.
 
Do I have to hire an attorney?
Either you or AT&T may be represented by an attorney. However, there is no requirement that you have an attorney to participate in arbitration.
 
Where can I find more information about arbitration?
You can review other arbitration information on the AAA's website.

Why has the AAA developed the Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes?
The AAA developed its Consumer Arbitration Rules to provide a low-cost, streamlined process to resolve disputes between consumers and businesses whose contracts contain a standardized arbitration clause where those terms and conditions are non-negotiable or primarily non-negotiable in most or all of its terms, conditions, features, choices. The Consumer Arbitration Rules are also intended to reinforce the principles of the Consumer Due Process Protocol.
 
What is the Consumer Due Process Protocol?
The Consumer Due Process Protocol (Protocol) is a statement of principles and standards aimed at promoting fair procedures that protect consumers in arbitrations. The protocol was developed to address a wide range of consumer transactions - those involving the purchase or lease of goods or services for personal, family or household use. A complete copy of the Protocol can be found on the AAA's website.
 
What if I am having problems with AT&T? Will the AAA help me before I file for arbitration?
No. The AAA is a neutral administrative agency and cannot act on behalf of either the consumer or AT&T, or become involved in a dispute before the filing of a case. If you are attempting to resolve a problem with AT&T, you should contact them directly or seek the assistance of a consumer advocacy group.
 
Where can I file my claim?
AAA's administrative services are available through the Association's AAA Case Filing Services at 1101 Laurel Oak Road, Suite 100, Voorhees, NJ 08043. Address information can be found on the AAA's website at adr.org. In-person hearings, if any are needed, can be held at any location convenient to the parties. Alternatively, the AAA has a file online option, AAA WebFile. You may obtain more information about AAA WebFile on AAA's website.

How do I file my claim?
To begin the process, either your or AT&T can use the Demand for Arbitration form found on the AAA's website. Send the completed form, along with a copy of the arbitration provision in your agreement, and the appropriate filing fees and/or deposits to the AAA. The AAA will notify AT&T, advising them that the AAA has received a consumer case under these supplementary procedures. Alternatively, the AAA has a file online option, AAA WebFile. You may obtain more information about AAA WebFile on AAA's website.
 
Can AT&T file for arbitration against a consumer?
Yes. Either you or AT&T can start an arbitration proceeding.
 
Can I have a hearing?
Yes. While many consumer disputes can be resolved simply through the review of documents, you can request a hearing if your claims less than $10,000. You can request a telephone, videoconference, or in-person hearing. For claims valued at more than $10,000, the AAA rules will apply. Your request should be made no later than ten days after the AAA has initiated the case or in the time established by AAA rules.
 
Is Mediation available?
Yes. In mediation, an impartial person (the mediator) helps the parties to try and settle their dispute by reaching an agreement together. A mediator does not arbitrate or decide the outcome. If the parties want to use mediation, they may do so under the Association's Commercial Mediation Rules.
Last updated: March 9, 2021

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