Settling consumer disputes on the internet

Providing legal redress for consumer complaints on the world wide web
Electronic commerce makes it possible for consumers to transact with companies or other individuals without regard to geographic location, but it also raises the question of how disputes will be resolved, especially when the buyer and seller are physically distant. Consumers must have access to adequate redress if problems arise after buying goods and services on the net. Given the "virtualisation" and "deterritorialisation" of electronic commerce, new complex questions arise as to which courts and which laws should apply to the transactions.
While consumers are generally protected by the laws of their jurisdictions, and vendors are also subject to legal oversight in the countries in which they are located, cost and other factors may make it difficult for consumers to obtain redress for cross border complaints.

If consumers have to go to court in case of a problem they must have the right to take action before their own national court. Depriving consumers of access to their own court in practice is denying them their right to redress.

In most e-commerce transactions, consumers already bear a disproportionate risk because business requires pre- payment (for example by credit cards). The supplier will therefore rarely have any reason to want to sue the consumer.

The [Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue] (TACD) urges the European Commission and governments and the US government, to ensure that the currently negotiated [International Convention on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgements] (the [Hague Convention]) provides the consumer with the right to sue business before the courts of the consumer's country of residence in e-commerce transactions. Furthermore the TACD urges the Council of the European Union to adopt without delay the proposed EC regulation on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgements in civil and commercial matters.
1. Consumers and those who represent their interests must retain the right to resort to the courts of the consumers' countries.

2. A framework for international jurisdiction in cross-border consumer transactions is needed.

3. Acknowledgement and effective enforcement of foreign judgements which have been rendered in the consumers home country must be guaranteed.

Counter Claim:
1. Efficient access to courts can obviously not be the only means to ensure that consumers get redress in e-commerce transactions. The typical small value consumer transaction will not be treated by courts. We urgently need alternative dispute resolution schemes, where consumers can file in an easy, cheap and effective way their complaints without going to court.
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions