Connecting Complaint Filing Processes to Online Resolution Systems

Commercial Law Practitioner, Vol. 10, p. 307, 2003

8 Pages Posted: 3 May 2006

See all articles by Thomas Schultz

Thomas Schultz

King's College London; University of Geneva


The use of information technology modifies several aspects of complaints handling systems and dispute resolution mechanisms. The present article reviews some of these modifications by focusing on two specific aspects: complaint filing processes and online dispute resolution systems. The arguments are as follows. Consumer complaint filing processes can play the role of a first step in the resolution of consumer disputes. But when it is unsuccessful and the dispute escalates, then it should connect as smoothly as possible to alternative/online dispute resolution bodies (ADRs and ODRs). This article concerns the various ways in which a complaint filing process can be designed and which methods of ODR it could connect to. It reviews a series of filing forms for ODRs and ADRs and on this basis discusses the pros and cons of various complaint filing processes. Then it reviews the major forms of ODR, to show the variety of dispute resolution procedures a complaint filing process could steer the parties towards. It finally reaches a twofold recommendation as to how a filing process should connect to ODRs; this recommendation is drawn from, on the one hand, the typology of existing filing processes and, on the other hand, the large diversity of existing ODR forms. First, the filing process should make use of a series of interactive filing forms that adapt to the type of dispute that the complaint is about, and these forms should be accompanied by as many automated negotiation tools as possible (generic reminders, standard settlement forms, recurring questions that make the claimant see his dispute in a different light, and so on). Second, a filing process should let the claimant benefit from the whole range of ODR systems, it should be open to (and thus interface with) all forms of ODR, including litigation in small claims cybercourts and court-based ODR.

Keywords: Online dispute resolution, complaints management, consumers, case filing, filing forms

JEL Classification: K4, K40

Suggested Citation

Schultz, Thomas, Connecting Complaint Filing Processes to Online Resolution Systems. Available at SSRN:

Thomas Schultz (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

University of Geneva ( email )

102 Bd Carl-Vogt
Genève, CH - 1205

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