Starting on February 15, 2016 consumers in the European Union will be able to address disputes with a trader regarding a product or service they bought using alternative dispute resolution on line. This is big. Think about this. An on line mediator working with two parties anywhere in the European Union will work with the parties to help the parties determine how to resolve their issue. This is mediation and not arbitration. In mediation the parties themselves make the decision and the mediator helps the parties through the process. In arbitration the arbitrator makes the decision similar to a judge’s ruling in court.
This article links to two other articles that offer information on how the new platform will work and the benefits of alternative dispute resolution, and information about the European Union Consumers Affairs Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) initiative.
Will the US do this too? I don’t know. I thought this was big enough news though to write an email to the Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, Edith Ramirez (email@example.com) to share this idea with her if she is not aware of it already. I see this as being a potential win for both businesses and consumers.
This is a system wide approach. Here in the US Giuseppe Leone, the founder of the Virtual Mediation Lab out of Hawaii brought this to my attention. He is on top of virtual mediation initiatives internationally and helps coordinate mediations with over 500 mediators in over 50 countries. Noam Ebner from Creighton University is involved with research in this area. This is a rapidly growing area to help parties in various geographic areas to address disputes on line in a safe environment.
I see this as an announcement in Europe now that will quite likely be coming to the US at some point in the future and wanted to share this innovation with you.
About the author
Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]