IT divorce tip No. 7: Consider counselingA better alternative to a sudden split (and the resulting lawsuits) is building a dispute resolution mechanism such as mediation or arbitration into the service agreement, says Ethan Katsh, director of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
With mediation, a neutral third party works with the parties to find a mutually satisfactory outcome. In arbitration, a third party decides who's right, and the disputants are legally bound to honor the decision.
"Mediation has a significant advantage because if any outcome is reached it's because both parties wanted it," Katsh says. "At the end of a successful mediation, both parties walk away happy."
The advantage of arbitration is that you know you'll end up with a resolution, although you may not like the results. Managed well, the dissolution could enable you and your vendor to work together again in the future.
But don't count on it.