This article examines the effectiveness of out-of-court procedures, in particular in the form of online dispute resolution (ODR) mechanisms, in the settlement of business-to-consumer (B2C) disputes. It offers a comparative perspective of two public ODR initiatives: Consumidor.gov.br, a Brazilian ODR platform, and the EU-provided ODR platform. Focusing on the institutional and procedural design of these two platforms, we highlight the factors and incentives that might contribute to increasing consumers’ trust and traders’ engagement in ODR procedures. The article relies on a large dataset from Consumidor.gov.br, consisting of a sample of more than 800,000 consumer complaints. While the EU ODR platform is not yet very well known among EU consumers, the Brazilian platform is becoming widely popular among Brazilian consumers. It is put forward that this popularity could be the result of the procedural design of the Brazilian platform, which serves as a direct communication channel between the trader and the consumer. Furthermore, we argue that the EU ODR platform could be more effective if the incentives for both parties, traders and consumers, to use ODR were reinforced. The article provides further policy recommendations on how the potential of ODR can be better exploited in light of the two ODR platforms examined.
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We would like to thank Julia Hörnle for extremely helpful comments. We are also indebted to the anonymous reviewers and their accurate suggestions as well as the officials of the European Commission (DG JUST) for their help in the preparation of this article. We would also like to thank the participants and organizers of the Annual Conference of the Center for the Study of European Contract Law at VU Amsterdam on 11-12 April 2019 where we first presented this paper. Usual disclaimer applies.
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Schmidt-Kessen, M.J., Nogueira, R. & Cantero Gamito, M. Success or Failure?—Effectiveness of Consumer ODR Platforms in Brazil and in the EU. J Consum Policy (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10603-020-09448-y
- Business-to-consumer disputes
- Consumer protection