How often was Amazon taken to arbitration?

Published on June 1, 2021

The following is compiled from data released by the American Arbitration Association and JAMS covering the period through March 31, 2021. Analyzed by FairShake Co-Founder Max Kornblith.

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Amazon is in the news as the company recently decided to do away with mandatory arbitration in its customer agreement.

We at FairShake closely track the data around consumer arbitration, which is made public thanks to state reporting requirements.

As we compile our annual report on the volumes handled by the top consumer arbitration venues, we’ve pulled out a peek at how frequently Amazon has been taken to arbitration:

The deluge: Around 24,300 cases were brought in arbitration against Amazon between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.*

The total number of cases that an arbitration provider has handled involving a company—including open cases—is required to be disclosed for transparency of any repeat player effects.

Total disclosed arbitration claims against Amazon entities as of 12/31/19: 229
Total disclosed arbitration claims against Amazon entities as of 3/31/21: 24,562

These claims suggest a much higher throughput than the arbitration system is used to, and most were still active as of 3/31/21.

To compare: In the 3 years from 2017-2019, a total of only 23 cases against Amazon were completed through arbitration, and 59 since 2020.

The most common outcomes for an arbitration case are a settlement prior to hearing, the case being withdrawn by the consumer, the case being dismissed pre-hearing, and a hearing.

Outcomes of arbitration cases vs. Amazon have evolved in recent years, with the rate of settlement decreasing while the rate of claims being withdrawn by the plaintiff increased:

Cases prior to 2020 settled by Amazon, among all completed: 40% (9 settlements)
Cases since 2020 settled by Amazon, among all completed: 13% (8 settlements)

Cases prior to 2020 withdrawn by plaintiff, among all completed: 9% (2 cases withdrawn)
Cases since 2020 withdrawn by plaintiff, among all completed: 41% (24 cases withdrawn)

For this year through March 31, one case brought by Keller Lekner was decided in favor the consumer:

Zeroing in on the law firm Keller Lekner, which was responsible for most of the cases completed since 2020 as well as, according to media reports, many that were in progress.

Completed cases brought by Keller Lekner in 2020-21Q1: 44 (out of 59 total)
Keller Lekner cases ending in dismissal or withdrawal of claim: 41
Keller Lerkner cases resulting in award for the consumer: 1

The successful case resulted in a $10,000 consumer award on March 31, 2021 (AAA Case Number: 012000013811).

About FairShake

FairShake, a TIME Best Invention of 2020, is an Oakland-based startup that’s bringing power back to everyday people by making it easy to take action against, and claim compensation from, big companies that have taken advantage of them. Read more about FairShake here or contact us via press [at] fairshake.com.


*Note: We know a lot more about completed cases than we do about open cases. While the opinions justifying arbitration rulings aren’t subject to mandatory disclosure, other data points are released at the conclusion of the case. These data points include the case outcome, hearing fees, and consumer attorney.

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