A Blueprint for Online Dispute Resolution System Design
Journal of Internet Law, Forthcoming
20 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 15, 2018
A great deal of discussion focuses on how arbitration and similar private dispute resolution harms consumers, and how businesses seek ways to avoid helping consumers. It is often assumed that companies and consumers are on opposing “teams.” In reality, however, consumers and companies enjoy more commonalities than contradictions. Both benefit when deals go well and disputes are resolved quickly and cheaply. The problem is that face-to-face dispute resolution can be costly in terms of time and money. Furthermore, getting lawyers involved may inspire gamesmanship and adversarial antics aimed to protect one’s reputation for staying “strong” and refusing to settle or admit wrongdoing. The solution is a well-designed online dispute resolution (ODR) system that harnesses business and consumer commonalities, and creates a win-win for all stakeholders in eCommerce disputes. Merchants, payments providers, consumer groups, regulators, and other policymakers must join forces in addressing this challenge by creating a unified ODR system that provides fast and fair resolutions worldwide. Aiming to catalyze this effort, this essay will address design caveats and provide criteria for creating a just ODR system.
Keywords: Consumers, ODR, Online Dispute Resolution, Dispute Resolution, Merchant, eCommerce, Payments, Systems, Design, Arbitration
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