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Success or Failure?—Effectiveness of Consumer ODR Platforms in Brazil and in the EU

Abstract

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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Notes

  1. 1.

    See also Mais com menos: o sucesso doconsumidor.gov.brentre os serviços públicos Retrieved from http://www.aeradodialogo.com.br/2018/02/27/sucesso-consumidor-servicos-publicos/ (accessed 7 December 2019).

  2. 2.

    ASEAN, too, has launched an initiative to create a regional consumer ODR platform: https://asean.org/asean-economic-community/sectoral-bodies-under-the-purview-of-aem/consumer-protection/ (accessed 7 December 2019).

  3. 3.

    See http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/commission/working_groups/3Online_Dispute_Resolution.html (accessed 7 December 2019).

  4. 4.

    Available at: http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2015-2018/2015/lei/l13140.htm

  5. 5.

    See https://www.consumidor.gov.br/pages/conteudo/publico/1 (accessed 7 December 2019).

  6. 6.

    The different rankings based on these indicators can be found at https://www.consumidor.gov.br/pages/indicador/geral/abrir (accessed 7 December 2019).

  7. 7.

    For further information see https://www.reclameaqui.com.br/ (accessed 26 January 2020).

  8. 8.

    Available at https://www.reclameaqui.com.br/institucional/ (accessed 26 January 2020)

  9. 9.

    This complaint form can be found at: https://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/main/?event=main.complaints.screeningphase (accessed 7 December 2019).

  10. 10.

    See EU ODR platform website https://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/main/?event=main.trader.register (accessed 7 December 2019).

  11. 11.

    EU Commission (2018b) p. 4: “Finally, in around 4% of cases the parties withdrew from the procedure, which also indicates that they are likely to have reached a solution”.

  12. 12.

    This data is not publicly available, but it has been kindly provided by the EU Commission upon request. On file with the authors.

  13. 13.

    We thank one of the anonymous reviewers for pointing this out.

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Legislation

    Brazil

    1. Law N. 8.078/1990 (Code of Consumer Protection).

    2. Law N. 9.099 of 26 September 1995 (Small Claims Court Act).

    3. Law N. 13.140 of 16 June 2015 (Mediation Act).

    4. Decree N. 7.963 of 15 March 2013 (Citizen-Consumer Decree).

    5. Decree No. 8.753 of 19 November 2019 (Consumidor.gov.br Decree).

    European Union

    1. Directive 2000/31/EC on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (2008) OJ L 178/1, 1707.2000. (E-Commerce Directive).

    2. Directive 2008/52/EC on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters (2008) OJ L 136.

    3. Directive 2013/11/EU on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes (2013) OJ L 165/63.

    4. Regulation (EU) No 524/2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending (2013) OJ EU 2013, L 165/1. (ODR Regulation).

    5. Directive (EU) 2019/2161 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directives 98/6/EC, 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules (2019) OJ L 328, 18.12.2019.

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    Acknowledgements

    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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    Correspondence to M. Cantero Gamito.

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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

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    Keywords

    • Business-to-consumer disputes
    • ODR
    • Brazil
    • EU
    • Effectiveness
    • Consumer protection