Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
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by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue June 18 2013 20:51:08

Should Courts Turn to eBay for Lessons in Dispute Resolution?

By: Ina Steiner

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The legal system should take lessons from eBay when it comes to dispute resolution, according to Britain's top judge. The Telegraph reports that in a lecture, the president of the Supreme Court said, "We may well have something to learn from on-line dispute resolution on e-Bay and elsewhere."

The newspaper wrote, "Internet sites such as eBay offer an informal way of resolving disputes between their buyers and sellers, with the company only becoming involved if customers fail to agree." Initially I thought the paper was attributing that sentence to Lord Neuberger, but I couldn't find that anywhere in his speech. Apparently that's the newspaper reporter's assessment of dispute resolution on eBay.

So what of it? Is this argument as absurd as it sounds? Who better to ask than EcommerceBytes readers who are in the thick of things, both as buyers and as sellers!

In terms of buyer and seller protection, have things changed over the years on eBay, and if so, for the better or for the worse?

And what do you think of eBay's online dispute resolution? Should it be a model the courts can learn from - why or why not?




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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Jun 18 21:21:20 2013

Yes... it IS absurd as it sounds! The entire premise of the argument defies every principle of fairness and impartiality that the foundation of our (and the Queen's) justice system is supposed to be built upon!

The ''eBay way'' of arbitration is one that AUTOMATICALLY assumes the worst of sellers. Instead of giving a modicum of thoughtful consideration to the FACTS, or applying any sort of LOGIC to any given situation, eBay chooses to ''arbitrate'' based only on two things: 1) What's the easiest way to end the dispute? (Where ''easiest'' is NOT synonymous with ''most fair''), and 2) How will the final decision benefit eBay?

Nowhere in those two criteria do the interests of the SELLER come into play. Nowhere do they consider the absurdity of the complaint, nor the history of the complainer. Also ignored is when a seller WILL make a fair offer to make-good on a problem, and when the buyer refuses to be reasonable (eg: by accepting the offer, or simply returning the merchandise.)

NO! Our legal system (and/or arbitration) should NOT be modeled after eBay.

Absolutely not!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Jun 18 21:53:26 2013

If the intent is to tilt the scales of justice to heavily favor one party and utilizes little or no evidence in rendering a decision, then the concept and principle is hogwash, useless, and impractical...just as eBay's resolution process is.

eBay's process only "works" because eBay forces both parties to abide by their arbitrary decisions which almost exclusively rule against one side. In ebay's case, the predetermined loser is almost always the seller..

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by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 18 22:17:31 2013

WHATTTTT ????
eBay = Hang them all, ask questions later, death penalty for parking tickets !!!!
Id rather live under Sharia law than eBay lawlessness ... this is a joke.... right??

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Jun 18 22:56:24 2013

Well I am a tad cynical, okay a lot cynical. First I would want to know where the judge got his information. Did he read it somewhere, maybe in an ebay self-promoting press release? Do you believe everything you read? Is the judge a buddy of Donahoes? Does the judge have a vested interest in ebay like holding some stock? Pretty sure the judge did not come to this conclusion by being a buyer or seller.

I am sure ebay wants to give the impression of only being a venue but sellers know this not to be true. Sellers who remain on ebay are trying to hang on to their business without ebay butting in to every aspect including declaring the sellers guilty regardless of proof to the contrary.

The judge's lecture makes the reader think ebay sellers have a voice and their opinion matters. Would be nice but sellers who experienced ebays fairness know better. Remember the vague level playing field?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Jun 18 23:34:47 2013

Which shows just how out of touch with the real world are such jurists ...

LOL—This guy has obviously been accepting, as fact, the stream of media release nonsense that habitually emanates from the eBay Dept of Spin; does he not take any notice of all the negative reader comments that accompany such eBay stories in the press? Apparently not ...

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Jun 18 23:39:25 2013

Maybe he's an eBay buyer. The PITA kind. That's the only thing that would explain it.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Jun 19 00:26:43 2013

why is everyone so cynical and upset?

The ebafia dispute resolution system worked perfectly well for the Soviet Union.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Jun 19 03:13:52 2013

I predicted this years ago : As Ebay goes, so go the governments. Ebay is a microcosm experiment to be utilized as a government plugin.
We are about to enter the twilight zone. Outcomes will defy all logic. Opposite world will rule. Black is white, right is wrong.
We must not allow this mindset to contaminate our children's morals.
Only an unscheduled intervention can save us.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jun 19 03:17:28 2013

I completely agree with Annie.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Wed Jun 19 06:09:49 2013

Who takes England serious?

Their government was formed because some guy could take a sword from a rock.

Want more?

Piers Morgan... not a Captain, that one.

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This user has validated their user name. by: baconsdozen
Web Site

Wed Jun 19 06:43:45 2013

As just about everyone in the UK knows,judges are so far removed from reality (witness the pathetic sentance handed down to the pervert and child molester Stewart Hall) that no one takes them seriously anymore.
Come to think of it ebay are oblivious to their customers so they should all (judges and Ebay) get on well together.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jun 19 07:14:22 2013

Sounds like a very lazy judge who wants hands-off fast food justice, and a judge who has never sold anything on eBay.

Plays right into that theory that the richest 1% are completely out of touch.  I think he needs to go back to law school for some refresher courses.

If eBay justice is where they are setting the bar, the country is doomed.

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 07:35:11 2013

The judge is clearly a shareholder who gets the gloss twice a year.

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 07:59:13 2013

That guy likely claimed INR and got a FREEBIE from a small American sellers.   Anyone sold to that guy?  Did he left a NEG as well?

UK has their share of IGNORANT, LAZY, ILLITERATE judges.  I am sure that he won't be re-elected again.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jun 19 08:51:56 2013

The title of this article was good for a morning chuckle. Obviously some reporter got a pay off from ebay to write something so stupid!

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by: nothingnew This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Jun 19 08:54:19 2013

The title If this blog iz a trick question right? Hahahahahaha

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by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 08:55:51 2013

Oh Hell no

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by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 09:15:11 2013

Hahahahahahahahaha!

Only an idiot (or an ebay buyer) would think ebay's dispute resolution is fair.

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 09:17:54 2013

Joke of the day - Right ?????
Makes sense- guilty until proven - doesn't matter what's proven.....Hang the seller. That is small seller, not diamond or chinese. They get free out of jail card.
How much did ebay pay Jim Cramer?? Last night -''On last night's Lightning Round on Jim Cramer's Mad Money, Jim recommended three stocks, eBay (EBAY), ConAgra Foods (CAG), and CarMax (KMX). Jim is famous for his quick buy or sell recommendations during the lightning round, but rarely goes into details as to why he likes or dislikes a particular stock.'' He likes depends on how much they pay him???? Wonder if he ever looked at ebay site????

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by: JoelHellmann This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 09:21:02 2013

I thought I had heard it all. I was wrong. Ebay should not resolve disputes in a kindergarten playground never mind a court!

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