The award “recognizes leaders in the dispute resolution community for their significant contributions to the field.” And these include nothing short of being the founder of the field of online dispute resolution, conducting the first research experiments in ODR, co-authoring the first book on ODR (Online Dispute Resolution: Resolving Conflicts in Cyberspace, 2001), founding the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, and fostering the development of the theory and practice of ODR throughout the globe. A prolific author, Ethan’s most recent work is Digital Justice: Technology and the Internet of Disputes, co-authored with Orna Rabinovich-Einy (Oxford University Press, 2017); another brilliant and visionary contribution. You can watch a video of Ethan’s acceptance speech here. Congratulations Ethan!
An announcement from the EU on March 24th indicates that the new EU ODR platform has handled more than 24,00 cases since launching last year. More than a third of the complaints concerned cross-border purchases within the EU. Most complaints were about clothing and footwear, airline tickets and information and communication technology goods.
From the press release:
“While there are strong rules in place in the EU to protect consumers, in practice consumers sometimes encounter problems getting redress when their rights are violated, particularly cross border.
When consumers have made their purchase online, they should also be able to solve such problems online. Be it a seller refusing to repair a defective laptop within the guarantee period, or a travel agent not willing to refund a ruined holiday, such disputes can be settled faster and cheaper online and outside the court, via an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform, launched by the Commission on 15 February 2016.
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “While we are still in an early phase of this new tool, we can already say that the Online Dispute Resolution platform has been well received by consumers. We also see that the mere fact of a consumer using the platform often is incentive enough for traders to resolve the dispute. We are giving consumers a practical tool to help them benefit from their rights in practice. On the other side, traders also have a lot to gain from this platform and should use it more. Particularly for online traders it is essential to be seen as reliable by potential consumers. Using this tool will help them earn consumer trust, whilst providing them with a simple and fast way of resolving disputes.”
- A consumer from Italy complained about a defective ICT product bought from an online trader in Belgium. The platform sent the complaint to the competent dispute resolution body in Belgium. As a result, the Italian consumer was reimbursed.
- A consumer from Luxembourg complained about a car rented online from a trader in Greece. The platform sent the complaint to the competent dispute resolution body in Greece. The dispute was amicably settled within 60 days. The trader fully reimbursed the additional expenses incurred by the consumer.
- The platform often also works as a channel of first contact between the parties and a solution is often found bilaterally without taking the complaint to a dispute resolution body. For example, A Belgian consumer had been complaining for months about a defective dryer to a Belgian trader, with no success. When the trader received the complaint via the platform, he contacted the consumer and offered to replace the dryer with a new one.
For those attending the American Bar Association annual conference in San Francisco April 19-22, we hope that you will come to the discussion of The New Handshake by Amy Schmitz and Colin Rule and Digital Justice: Technology and the Internet of Disputes by Ethan Katsh and Orna Rabinovich-Einy. The session will be on Thursday April 20th at 2:45. Information about Digital Justice can be found here.