With the goal of increasing trust in e-commerce, especially in cross-border low-value transactions, the EU and the UN are bringing forward regulatory initiatives that promote the use of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). ODR provides electronic access to informal non-judicial redress methods commonly referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), such as mediation, arbitration and ombudsman schemes.
This project will evaluate the main consumer ADR schemes operating in Italy, Spain and the UK. These schemes are currently adapting their processes to the European legislation and to a society progressively interacting in the digital sphere. Although ODR is nearly always the only feasible option for settling typically low-value consumer complaints arising from e-commerce, it has been underused because most ADR schemes have not yet streamlined their processes online and the participation of businesses in these schemes remains voluntary in many economic sectors. The study will therefore examine how the selected traditional ADR schemes are currently implementing ODR technology; and identify design features which might help increase access to redress processes while discouraging unmeritorious claims;facilitate voluntary compliance of final outcomes; andencourage traders to tackle causes of complaints as well as consequences.
Qualitative research based on interviews will be conducted with stakeholders representing ADR schemes, technology intermediaries, consumers, businesses, and policy makers in order to extract and contrast best practices that will inform existing ADR schemes, which will soon be legally required to process complaints online.
Dr Pablo CortesUniversity of Leicester
Imogen ParkerNuffield Foundation
Director, WelfareNuffield Foundation