‘Drive-Thru’ Arbitration in the Digital Age: Empowering Consumers Through Regulated ODR
68 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 16, 2010
Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) has been promoted for quickly and conveniently resolving claims using online “drive-thru” processes instead of more costly and time-consuming face-to-face meetings and hearings. Most commentators have nonetheless focused mainly on non-binding or automated bidding processes, perhaps due in part to fairness concerns associated with off-line arbitration. This Article, however, explores the potential for online binding arbitration (OArb), and sheds new light on arbitration as means for empowering consumers to obtain remedies on their e-merchant claims. By moving arbitration online, OArb helps address concerns regarding companies’ use of arbitration clauses to curb consumers’ access to remedies on their typically small claims. This Article offers suggestions for regulations that aim to capitalize on OArb’s potential for providing consumers with convenient and cost-effective access to remedies while augmenting companies’ cost-savings from avoiding court and class actions, which they may pass on to consumers through lower prices and better quality products.
Keywords: arbitration, contracts, consumer rights, consumer law, dispute resolution
JEL Classification: K12, K41, K30, K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation