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. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can be very helpful to both parties in electronic transactions, especially in cross-border complaints.
The development of alternative dispute resolution systems for electronic commerce which leave open to consumers the ability to pursue other avenues of recourse.
ADR systems that are easily accessible, fair, and provide swift resolution of individual problems will help foster confidence in electronic commerce. They will also benefit governments, consumers and businesses by mitigating the need to involve more formal systems of adjudication.
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.
Links to ADR systems can be provided by governments, consumer organizations, businesses and others to make it easy for consumers to find and reach them. Complaints and responses can be submitted online. If is desirable to bring the parties together electronically for "real time" discussion, this can be scheduled at a mutually acceptable time.
ADR can be faster than the traditional legal process.
Vendors may attempt to require consumers to use ADR mechanisms whether they wish to or not.