Consumer purchases over the Internet (“ePurchases”) are on the rise, thereby causing an increase in conflicts regarding these purchases (“eConflicts”). Furthermore, these conflicts are increasingly international as consumers purchase goods over the Internet not knowing or caring where the seller is physically located. The problem is that if the purchase goes awry, consumers are often left without recourse due to the futility of pursing international litigation and the textured law and policy regarding enforcement of private dispute resolution procedures, namely arbitration. The United States strictly enforces arbitration contracts in business-to-consumer (“B2C”) relationships, while other countries have refused or limited enforcement of arbitration in these relationships. Furthermore, some businesses have used their power to impose onerous arbitration regimes in their international B2C online contracts (“eContracts”). Consumers subject to these contracts have been left confused whether they must abide by these regimes, and uncertain where to turn in seeking remedies on their eContract claims. This essay addresses the lack of consumer remedy mechanisms, and seeks to spark consideration of expanded use of online processes for resolving B2C eConflicts.
Amy J. Schmitz, Building Bridges to Consumer Remedies in eConflicts, 34.4 U. A. L. Rev. 779, 779-95 (2012).