B-2-C Pre-dispute Arbitration Clauses, E-commerce Trust Construction and Jenga: “keeping Every Cog and Wheel”

Mohammed A. Aslam

Abstract

In its pro-consumer stance the EU has reaffirmed its commitment to ban pre-dispute arbitration clauses in its new Proposals for a Directive on ADR, and a Regulation on a Common European Sales Law. This course of direction has begun despite the fact that cross border B-2-C e-commerce sales are below expectations. The EU does not need reminding building trust in e-commerce is essential. However, trust construction needs to be re-examined from the perspective of ODR if a genuine concern exists to build the right form of trust. This article adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to re-assess the legitimacy of pre-dispute arbitrations clauses in the e-B-2-C low-value/high-volume Clip-Wrap context. What is proposed is to view them from an interest-based system trust approach. Under this reframing they are regarded as strategic “imperative cogs”, which are essential in building system trust. These need to work with crowdsourced consumer-centric business models to produce sustainable system trust and predictability via perceived fairness.

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