building trust: consumer dispute resolution (b2c) louise sylvan consumers international

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  • Building Trust: Consumer Dispute Resolution (B2C)Louise SylvanConsumers International

  • Consumers InternationalGlobal federation of 263 independent consumer organisations in 119 countriesEg. Developed countries: Brand namesConsumer Reports (US)Consumentengids (Netherlands)Tests-Achats (Belgium)Which? (UK) CHOICE (Australia)

  • do we have confidence?65% use a PC43% use the Net5% transact

  • KEY CONFIDENCE ISSUESNovel ShoppingNew requirements, new fraud opportunities PrivacySecurityAuthentication Redress

  • RedressConsumers International study on providers of ADR online released todayFollows on from consumers@shopping8 key criteria for assessment of providersMajor deficiencies/areas for improvementConclusions and Recommendations

  • Online ADR Providers1-2-3 Settle.comAllSettle.comBBB OnlineclickNsettle.comCybercourtCybersettleE-MediatoreResolutioniCourthouseiLevelInternet NeutralInternet OmbudsmanMarsNewCourtCity.comNovaForum.comODR.NLOnline ResolutionOnline Ombuds OfficeOnLine DisputesResolution ForumSettleOnlineSettleSmartSquareTradeThe Virtual MagistrateU.S. SettleWebAssured.comWeb Dispute ResolutionsWEBdispute.comWebmediateWeb Trader

  • What makes for a good dispute resolution process?Lots of experience offline in ADRNeeds co-operation between partiesCan be complaints assistance, mediation, arbitrationOnline adds additional dimensionsSome efficiency (eg. Geographically)Some innovation (automatic)

  • What makes for a good dispute resolution process?First, the firm has a good complaints handling, money-back guarantees, etcADR comes after the firm and the consumer cant agree

  • What makes for effective dispute resolution?8 key principlesBased on EU and TACD; GBDe1. Independence/ImpartialityOf the providerOf the officials handling disputesRaises issues of:Consumer representation, balanceFunding by business

  • What makes for effective dispute resolution?2. TransparencyUp front disclosure of process and proceduresPublication of general statisticsPublication of arbitration results critical

  • What makes for effective dispute resolution?3. AvailabilityGeographicallyRange of languages4. AffordabilityPreferably free to consumer, or very low fees

  • What makes for effective dispute resolution?5. EffectivenessVisibility, easy to findTimelinessCompetence of officersEase of useEnforceable arbitration binding on the business Subject to oversight

  • What makes for effective dispute resolution?6. Fair: Due ProcessBoth parties heardNo need for (prohibition of) legal representation

    7. Legality/LibertyVoluntaryDoes not limit rights nor displace law enforcement actionsDecisions binding on trader not consumer

  • What makes for effective dispute resolution?8. Oversight (third party)Problem of inherent bias towards the paying party most schemes, its business payingNo market forces operating in terms of consumer choice choice of ADR by businessStandards established and adhered to through audited third party process not self declaration

  • Results - Consumers International Initial Study of ADR-onlineOverview assessments of online ADR providers no grading this time30 providers 25 North American, 5 Europeanoffering 36 distinct servicesFew designed specifically for consumers23 for profit companies

  • Results - Consumers International Initial Study of ADR-onlineNone met all criteriaGenerally well described proceduresToo little attention to language - EnglishFew assisted with unco-operative merchantsNone of the business providers balanced their governance structures consumer and business representation

  • Results - Consumers International Initial Study of ADR-onlineMany limited their applicabilityMost were disproportionately costly Few reported well or transparentlyMost were visible (easy to find), timely and easy to use

  • Conclusions & RecommendationsGood online ADR should help reduce likelihood of needing court systemDoesnt solve applicable law or forumADR suffering same problem as plethora of seal programs too messy, too unsupervised for consumer trust to build, most still not meeting essential standards

  • Conclusions & RecommendationsToo little consideration of type offered eg. inappropriateness of mediation for many B2C disputes; more thought for consumer designed servicesSerious enforcement problems No Teethshould probably be linked to government ADR or trustmark with promise of compensation or money backTrustmark at least provides minimum Code of Practice and a sanction (dismissal)

  • Conclusions & RecommendationsCatering for non-English speakers essentialCosts cant be higher than most B2C disputesConsideration of balanced governance needed - credibilityBetter transparency and reporting not business protection services

  • Conclusions & RecommendationsInappropriate mandatory ADR and binding clauses need to be eliminatedGlobal standards needed Ongoing independent oversight needed for trust to build