• Common errors


    The buyer is not the enemy! Keeping buyers informed usually means that most if not all of a problem can be resolved amicably! Hiding 'bad news' on the other hand guarantees trouble. Knowingly shipping sub-standard quality demonstrates disregard for contract integrity, or a lack of quality knowledge, or both! Not reporting that a shipment may be delayed can cause much greater damage than may immediately be obvious.

    Buyer and seller are partners in a transaction: both are obliged to play their role to ensure the successful completion and to minimize the impact of potentially harmful situations. Keeping the buyer informed of any problems enables timely corrective action to be taken, thereby saving costs and damages. Arbitrators will take this into account when it comes to making an award. And if a claim is received, deal with it! Promptly and efficiently! Do not ignore a claim in the belief that it will 'go away'.  And if a claim does result in arbitration proceedings being initiated, co-operate fully because otherwise the exercise will proceed without your input.

    Remember also that those who see the coffee trade from only one side, such as exporters, do not always appreciate why and how certain actions or lack of actions can cause their counterpart to suffer loss or damage, and it is not uncommon for some to feel subsequently that they have been treated unfairly in the arbitration proceedings. Look for local assistance therefore because local representatives usually have more experience with the arbitration system and can guide an exporter through some of the details. A local representative might not know exactly how an arbitration award was decided, but he or she should clearly understand the proceedings and be able to explain more or less how the outcome was determined. This is very helpful for an exporter in deciding whether or not to appeal against an award.

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