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Online Arbitration by Email

Angry man

net-ARB Complaint

Site: ripoffreport.com Aug. 22, 2011

Title:  net-arb.com No proofs required by this online arbitration forum Internet

URL:  http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/net-arbcom/internet/net-arbcom-No-proofs-required-by-this-online-arbitration-forum-Internet-768062

Client's Complaint

I am a service provider on eLance and had the most unusual experience with net-ARB. The client filed a dispute notice, would not seek mediation, so there was no option left but to seek arbitration with net-ARB.

Before that and duringthe course of the project delivery the client was so impressed with my writing, he had offered me co-authorship for a fee waiver. When I declined that he pressed charges of plagiarism --- without proof. On the contrary, I ran the whole document on copyscape and submitted a report to net-ARB, even dared the client to run the copy on any other anti-plagiarism software, but he did not and net-ARB choose not to take note of this behavior.

And guess what? Eventually, net-ARB ruled against me!!! and asked me not just to refund the client for the last milestone, but also a previous milestone as well as transferred the copyrights of the written material --- that had already run into twice the length I was being paid for because the client wanted me to go on writing --- to the client!

My question is: if the material was plagiarized, why was the client offering me co-authorship and why would the arbitration panel decide to transfer the copyright over "plagiarized material" to the client?

The best part is that net-ARB begins to pitch its business through emails to both parties even before a ruling is announced and afterwards, entertains no queries, appeals or objections!!!

Worse, their "competent and able arbitrators" English writing skills --- or what can be made out from the wordings of their ruling leaves a lot of room for improvement:)

Never again, would I opt for arbitration and certainly not from net-ARB.




Our Response


Quotes from the Complaint

  • "Before that and during the course of the project delivery the client was so impressed with my writing, he had offered me co-authorship for a fee waiver. When I declined that he pressed charges of plagiarism --- without proof."
  • Although this makes it seem like a cause and effect relationship (charged plagiarism only because declined co-authorship), the two issues are unrelated. In the hearing the client was able to prove that portions of the writer's work were indeed plagiarized from work published in 1976.
  • "Eventually, net-ARB ruled against me!!! and asked me not just to refund the client for the last milestone, but also a previous milestone"
  • Because only separable portions of project were plagiarized and the remainder could be used by the client, the arbitrator awarded the work to the client but reduced the writer's fee by half. The two milestones that were refunded to the client equaled half of the fee.
  • "My question is: if the material was plagiarized, why was the client offering me co-authorship and why would the arbitration panel decide to transfer the copyright over "plagiarized material" to the client?"
  • Copyright to everything except the plagiarized material was turned over to the client as is the case with any hired writer.
  • "The best part is that net-ARB begins to pitch its business through emails to both parties even before a ruling is announced and afterwards, entertains no queries, appeals or objections!!!"
  • We send parties an email after the hearing and before the decision, preparing them for the reality that one of them will lose. As is the case with all binding arbitration, the decision is final and unappealable. We entertain queries of a general nature but cannot answer queries about the arbitrator's decision.
  • "Worse, their "competent and able arbitrators" English writing skills --- or what can be made out from the wordings of their ruling leaves a lot of room for improvement:)"
  • The decision follows. We'll leave you to judge for yourself.

    Arbitrator's Explanation

    Under net-ARB policy, the arbitrator must provide a written explanation supporting the decision. Here is a copy of the explanation that accompanied the decision.

    For the record, we find this was a re-writing project which is something of a hybrid between editing and writing. The Panel feels that the provider, while knowledgeable enough to be working on a project of this nature, is not an expert in the subject matter and it is therefore illogical to expect her to write the new book all by herself. In short, the Panel is unmoved by the argument over whether the job was for ghost-writing or editing since the provider did some of both.

    The Panel also finds the evidence supports the fact that most of the work was done properly and professionally. Where the provider loses our support however, is on the issue of plagiarism. If there is one aspect of the law that a professional writer needs to know about it is copyright law. Thus ignorance in this area is inexcusable, just as knowingly exposing a client to claims of copyright infringement without their knowledge. We find that was done here notwithstanding the provider's argument after the fact "that a bulk of the research done on the Preferred Representational Systems (PRS) on which the exercise is based is derived from Bandler & Grinder's work (1976) and is no one's exclusive property." This goes way beyond 'reasoning' with the client, as she put it, and crosses over into 'giving legal advice', something only a licensed attorney may do.

    The provider in fact knows better, as demonstrated by her testimony, "we could also have taken Wacek's permission to use it, as other sites (I presume) may have done." On the one hand she presumes others have asked for permission, yet presumes she can do so without asking permission.

    The Panel believe the client can make good use of most of the provider's work on this project and in keeping with the fundamentals of equitable arbitration, we transfer ownership of the work to the client for one half of the bid amount.

    See the full List of Complaints we have responded to.

    If you know of one we haven't found, please let us know.

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