Review Paper

Journal of Consumer Policy

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 527-546

First online:

How Important is Procedural Justice for Consumer Dispute Resolution? A Case Study of an Ombudsman Model for European Consumers

  • Naomi CreutzfeldtAffiliated withCentre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford Email author 

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Abstract

Recent EU legislation has mandated the extension of comprehensive coverage of consumer dispute resolution (CDR) throughout the EU. The extension of CDR has given rise to a range of questions about the theoretical and practical implications of these changes. The field of CDR is underexplored in academic literature and only a few studies provide an overview of this rapidly developing area. There is a need to base CDR schemes on empirical evidence to inform practice and to provide justice. Tyler’s procedural justice model of public compliance with the law might be beneficial in this inquiry. This exploratory study tests whether Tyler’s well-established normative model of social regulation holds true in the CDR context by applying it to the ombudsman. In doing so, this paper seeks to contribute to a richer understanding of how to assess consumer acceptance of an ombudsman model of CDR. The study finds that Tyler’s model cannot be fully translated to the UK ombudsman case study. The current dearth of comparative empirical evidence on the effectiveness of CDR in Europe fuels the need for further inquiry and re-evaluation of its theoretical foundations.

Keywords

Consumer dispute resolution (CDR) Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) Procedural justice Ombudsman decision-making Legitimacy Access to justice