Is Mediation Right For You?

by Joy Lanzaro

Mediation is a self-directed process that’s designed to co-craft solutions. In matters related to contract performance, it can reduce the cost and time required to reach a mutually agreeable solution. The mediator uses shuttle diplomacy to de-escalate tension and remove obstacles to agreement. We have found it to be a very effective way to get parties through a rough patch in a way that preserves each side’s autonomy.

Here are a few questions to help decide if mediation is right for you:

  • Is the dispute about performance of work on contract?
  • Have you attempted to resolve the dispute through direct communication with the service provider?
  • Do you need to take a break from direct communication? Do you need help getting your point across?
  • Was the company Diamond Certified when you hired them?
  • Has it been less than six months since signing the contract or purchasing the service?
  • Have you afforded the company an opportunity to resolve the matter?
  • Have you not yet shared the dispute with another dispute resolution venue or attorney?

Mediation is not suitable for settling claims of property damage.
There are many modalities for conflict resolution. Mediation is a very effective and relatively fast way to resolve disputes about performance on contract. It’s not a suitable framework for settling negligence, damages or liability claims if there’s a disagreement about fault. These disputes require evidence, and there are legal burdens and defenses on both sides of the dispute. As a consumer resource, we do not have the jurisdiction to decide whether a party did in fact cause the damage. If we try to fit the dispute into the mediation framework, we run the risk of violating party legal rights. Our policy is to resolve disputes in a manner that upholds each party’s rights and interests using the contract and industry standards for guidance. For this reason, we do not offer to mediate disputes about negligence and property damage.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Diamond Certified Mediator

i. The mediator shall conduct the mediation relying on the principle of party self-determination. Self-determination is the act of coming to a voluntary decision in which each party makes free and informed choices.

ii. The mediator conducts separate communications with the parties and mediates using shuttle diplomacy via email.

iii. The parties are encouraged to review all documents held by both sides. The mediator will review the customer’s intake form and the parties’ contract to determine where performance  parted from expectations on contract and industry standards. The mediator will get both sides of the story to identify areas of agreement/disagreement, drill down to the underlying interests and get up to speed with the history of the parties’ negotiations.

iv. The mediator does not have the authority to impose a settlement on the parties but will attempt to help them reach a satisfactory resolution that both sides can live with.

v. The mediator is not an advocate or representative of any party and has no fiduciary duty to any party.

If you feel that mediation may be right for you, please read the short list of terms and conditions of the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee here and email us at [email protected]