Arbitration FAQs

Questions and Answers Related to the Cricket Wireless dispute process

Here are some common questions and answers regarding the Arbitration Program Administered by the American Arbitration Association.

Important Note: These FAQs 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.

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 Cricket Wireless Arbitration Program?

The arbitration clause in the contract between you and Cricket explains what kinds of disputes are covered. The AAA also applies its Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes to disputes between you and Cricket. The AAA will have the discretion to apply or not to apply the Supplementary Procedures and the parties will be able to bring any disputes concerning the application or non-application to the attention of the arbitrator. 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 Cricket. 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 Cricket 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 Cricket 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 the Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes 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 Supplementary Procedures 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 Cricket? 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 Cricket, or become involved in a dispute before the filing of a case. If you are attempting to resolve a problem with Cricket, 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 Case Management Centers in Atlanta, Dallas, Fresno and East Providence. Address information can be found on the AAA's website at In-person hearings, if any are needed, can be held at any location convenient to the parties.

How do I file my claim?

To begin the process, either your or Cricket 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 contract, and the appropriate filing fees and/or deposits to any AAA office. The AAA will notify Cricket, advising them that the AAA has received a consumer case under these supplementary procedures.

Can Cricket file for arbitration against a consumer?

Yes. Either you or Cricket can start an arbitration proceeding.

Can I have a hearing?

Many consumer disputes can be resolved simply through the review of documents. However you may request a hearing. This request should be made no later than 10 days after the AAA has initiated the case. You can request either a telephone hearing or an in-person hearing.

Is Mediation available?

Mediation is available to assist parties in resolving their disputes. If the parties want to use mediation, they may do so under the Association's Commercial Mediation Rules.

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.