A Meeting of the Minds: Online Dispute Resolution Regulations Should Be Opportunity Focused
U.C. Davis Business Law Journal, Vol 16(2) (Spring 2016, Forthcoming)
33 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2015 Last revised: 7 Oct 2015
Date Written: September 15, 2015
Cross-Border Online Dispute Resolution is yet again stalling within the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law because of the convergence of two worlds. The online environment in which “a consumer interacting with a website must have the item or the information she is seeking, she is in a rush to obtain it, and she trusts the website or regulators to protect her if agreement terms are outside the bounds of the law” and the legal issues associated with the enforceability and policy restrictions behind consumer pre-dispute arbitration clauses. Although this great divide has arisen before, in this very group, progress sometimes seems impossible. Despite repeated attempts, by knowledgeable legal scholars and debates among noted international relations experts, few solutions have moved forward. In response to this ongoing impasse I offer this humble solution: we must engage in a true cross discipline discussion concerning the ways that technology could assist in reducing or eliminating the impact of certain behaviors that lead to the creation of some very historic protectionist legal doctrines. It is time for a meeting of the minds or a great divide will emerge between consumers and online commerce.
This paper will briefly explore the main philosophical and legislative divisions that exist in the world of consumer protection. The paper then suggests that a new design paradigm be created to regulate the online cross border world of consumer protections. The paper suggests a specific set of guidelines for the essential attributes that must be present in any consumer online dispute resolution platform. Finally, the paper concludes by demonstrating how technology can ensure those protections are embodied within the platform.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation