What is PeopleClaim?
PeopleClaim.com is a user-supported online dispute resolution system designed to settle most common disputes quickly and efficiently—without mediation, arbitration, or litigation. We provide a secure, confidential negotiation channel where both sides can review facts, communicate with each other, propose terms, make counteroffers, and reach resolution. Both parties control their side of the process and avoid the uncertain outcome and costliness of legal action. PeopleClaim.com takes neither side in disputes: we do not involve ourselves in any aspect of negotiation between parties, and do not review or evaluate the merits or content of claims filed on the site. Nor do we edit or otherwise alter claim content. PeopleClaim.com functions solely as an Internet service provider; not as content provider or publisher. We operate under well-defined and well tested laws concerning First Amendment free speech rights and under broad safe harbor protection provided by the Communications Decency Act of 1996 as well as various state anti-SLAPP and free speech laws. We are supported by user fees, rather than sponsorship or advertising.
How does PeopleClaim work?
There are four steps to using the PeopleClaim system in resolving a claim filed against you: 1) Reviewing the complaint and proposed terms; 2) Verifying the information provided; 3) Negotiation; and 4) Settlement. PeopleClaim’s secure online channel lets you and the other party communicate in confidence. Our automated email system tracks progress, advising both sides of changes in terms, revised offers, and any other claim-related activity. This helps the negotiation proceed smoothly with minimum time slippage. Claimants establish a resolution period when they file a claim, generally two weeks but sometimes longer. They also choose whether to allow the claim to post publicly on the Internet if resolution is not achieved in the time allotted. Settlement occurs when either side accepts an offer. PeopleClaim provides the channel and structure for negotiation and settlement but we stay out of your business. The outcome is entirely up to you and the other party.
What are the benefits?
Using PeopleClaim is cost-effective: it adds a new tool for managing customer relations at no cost to you; you pay nothing to use the system. You increase satisfaction and retain customers by addressing their complaints promptly and directly. You reduce the risks of litigation by handling disputes proactively and constructively at an early stage. PeopleClaim helps you maintain your online reputation.
What is the PeopleClaim Registry?
The Registry is an online database of unresolved claims that have posted automatically after resolution deadlines established by claimants have expired. (It may also include claims filed without adequate address information for the receiving party. These post immediately in summary form, and in full after 10 days.) This unique information resource can be used by anyone. A search engine allows consumers making purchase decisions to gain useful knowledge when they look at prospective vendors. A company with one or two unresolved claims presents a much different picture to a potential customer than one that has dozens of unsettled claims against it. Registry data is particularly valuable because it has all been collected according to one classification system, so users see comparable information when searching by claim type, industry, or location, for example. (Other search engines may present random, unstructured data from a variety of sources, which can present a misleading or minimally useful picture.)
What happens when a claim is posted for public review and comment?
When site users choose the Public Posting option they establish a period of time for negotiating a settlement. This can be 10 days, three weeks, four weeks, or more; but not less than 10 days. A posting date is established that reflects the time allowed. Claims unresolved by this date are automatically posted in the PeopleClaim Registry, a database of unsettled claims that is available to Google and other search engines, as well as PeopleClaim’s search engine. (Claimant names and personal information are kept private, but the circumstances of the claim are published in detail. At the claimant’s option proposed settlement terms may or may not be disclosed.) Claims remain posted until settled or removed by the claimant, or at the request of the claimant. As a matter of policy we do not accept such requests from anyone but claimants. While posted in the Registry, claims may be viewed by PeopleClaim users, or by anyone whose Web search results include the claim. Claimants who request expert advice through the PeopleClaim system may be contacted by lawyers or other professionals and specialists who take an interest in their cases.
I just received notification of a PeopleClaim. What are my choices?
When you receive a PeopleClaim, you are free to respond as you would with any other complaint. You may accept the claimant’s terms of settlement, reject them (with or without explanation), or negotiate. The system allows you to communicate freely with the claimant online. You may ask verification questions, request documentation, and negotiate a settlement you consider reasonable. If you feel the resolution period is not adequate you can ask the claimant for additional time. (PeopleClaim automatically extends the resolution period by five days, regardless of whether the claimant grants your specific time request.)
Am I legally obligated to respond?
A PeopleClaim is similar to a pre-litigation statement of claim or a demand notice, and you are not required by law to respond. Your incentive to do so is entirely on the basis of addressing the other party’s complaint and taking advantage of a “first-resort” settlement avenue, which avoids more costly and time-consuming approaches such as mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Reaching resolution this way prevents the complaint posting on the Internet.
What happens if I ignore the claim?
Ignoring a claim generally will cause it to post in the PeopleClaim Registry after the resolution period expires. (This will take place automatically, except in cases where the claimant has not chosen the public posting option.) Publicly posted claims are available to Google and other search engines, accessible for review and comment by anyone who sees them. Claimants may also choose to enlist third-party help to resolve their claims if they post. For example, they can choose to have their claims copied to regulators, watchdogs, blogs, and media with interests in your industry or profession. The system also allows claimants to invite lawyers and other specialists to contact them through the system to discuss their problems. And they can communicate with other claimants who have the same or similar problem. An ignored claim may lead a motivated claimant to escalated actions in order to achieve resolution.
If I agree to settle, what assurance is there that the claimant won’t take further action?
In agreeing to settle, the claimant releases the counterparty from further obligation—if the terms of settlement are fulfilled. Our online Settlement Agreement, which both parties endorse when a claim is resolved, is a legally binding document. As long as you fulfill the terms the claimant will have no grounds to pursue the matter by other means. We recommend you consult legal counsel if you have questions about the enforceability of any contemplated agreement.
What if I’m willing to resolve the claim but I disagree with some or all of the claimant’s statements?
What prevents people from making false or malicious assertions in their claims?
We’ve taken precautions to protect both sides of any claim. To file a claim all claimants must accept a user agreement that confirms the validity and truth of the information they provide and requires them to take full responsibility for it. (In addition, claimants using optional paid services pay with a credit card, which lowers the likelihood of trivial or nuisance claims, or multiple filings for the same offense.) Counterparties to a claim have the opportunity to respond to claimant assertions, disagree with any or all statements made, and refute anything they believe to be false or misleading.
If I reject the terms of settlement, where can I tell my side of the story?
We strongly encourage rejecting any claim you feel is unjust, inaccurate, or otherwise unwarranted. In rejecting a claim you may state your reasons and these will become part of the claim record. If the claim posts on the Internet, anyone viewing it will be able to read your statement and consider it in relation to the claimant’s assertions and settlement terms.
How do I get an objectionable claim off the Registry?
The claimant is the only one who can authorize removal of a posted claim. If you reopen negotiations and achieve settlement with the claimant, the claim will be removed from public posting. It could also be removed if the claimant agrees to unpost it, despite no settlement. Both possibilities depend on you and the claimant: claims cannot be removed from the Registry via direct requests to PeopleClaim.com. We will act to remove a claim under three circumstances only: by court order; when the issues involve the safety of a minor; or when national security may be affected.
What if I choose to settle with a claimant outside the PeopleClaim system?
You and the claimant are free to work out a settlement in any way that suits your needs. PeopleClaim provides an efficient online system for communicating and negotiating, but its full use is not required to settle a claim. However, in settling outside the system you will not have the benefit of PeopleClaim’s mutually endorsed online Settlement Agreement, which documents the resolution. Note: If you reach settlement outside the system you will need to ask the claimant to be sure to mark the claim settled at PeopleClaim.com. Without this step the claim will either post on the Registry or remain on the Registry.
Why is there a business profile for my company on this website?
PeopleClaim.com maintains business profiles to help our users make informed choices. Basic profile information—contact info, type of business, size and scope of operations, etc.—is gathered from published sources, and we welcome edits and updates from any business profiled. (Edits may also be volunteered by site visitors. Suggestions from the public are verified by PeopleClaim before any changes are made to a profile.) The letter grade on the profile page reflects the business's record of responding to and resolving complaints filed through the PeopleClaim system. Learn more about PeopleClaim Ratings here.
If I don't want my business to be profiled, will you remove it?
Sharing information about product and service providers is essential to freedom of choice, and a fact of life in the Information Age. While we won't remove a business's Profile page, we work with any profiled company to maintain accurate information, including suggestions for improving or maintaining their PeopleClaim Rating.