There's an 'App' for That: Developing Online Dispute Resolution to Empower Economic Development
41 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 14, 2018
Traditionally, litigation has been the norm for resolving disputes. It takes place in a public forum and face–to–face. In a global economy, however, such public and face-to-face dispute resolution is not feasible. This is especially true with cross-border purchases through e-commerce. E-commerce requires more efficient and less litigious remedy systems that allow consumers to obtain remedies on their purchases without the cost and travel associated with traditional face-to-face procedures. This has led to development of online dispute resolution (“ODR”) processes, especially with respect to business-to-consumer contracts. Accordingly, scholarship and policy papers have advanced ODR for the benefit of consumers. What deserves emphasis, however, is promotion of ODR to empower businesses in developing nations that seek to attract customers globally. Establishment of trusted ODR systems incentivizes consumers to make cross-border purchases because it provides consumers with the comfort of knowing there is a cheap and easy means for obtaining a remedy if the purchase goes awry. This is especially important to assist businesses in developing nations. Although broadband home Internet access is less common in these nations, Internet access is expanding through use of smartphones and similar mobile devices. Such mobile access is narrowing the so-called “digital divide.” At the same time, ODR provides a backbone for building e-commerce, which is imperative for economic development and global integration. ODR is a catalyst for consumer trust, thus fueling consumer cross-border sales. This article, therefore, encourages growth of global ODR that is accessible through mobile devices as means for increasing access to remedies and trustworthy e-commerce for companies and consumers in developing nations.
Keywords: ODR, online dispute resolution, remedies, e-commerce, consumer, consumers, B2C, cross border, business-to-consumer
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