The Assembly for Alternative Dispute Resolution is the largest forum dedicated to consumer ADR on a European scale. This year's edition, which took place online on September 28 and 29, 2021, was attended by over 400 organizations dedicated to consumer dispute resolution. The subjects of the discussions this year were related to the opportunities and the challenges which consumer markets face the increasingly digitalization.
The Executive Director of NAIS, Ms. Svilena Nasalevska participated in discussions about the two alternatives to the development of consumer dispute resolution - by encouraging traders to participate in such structures or by committing for the purpose of giving more opportunities to their customers to solve problems in their relationships. Ms. Nasalevska spoke in a discussion on the pros and cons of artificial intelligence (AI) in the ADR procedure. It was stated in the discussion that in order to introduce regulation, it must be clear how AI could be used and there is a real accumulated practice. Also, in the future there will inevitably be the use of AI in ADR, initially only in the form of a chatbot, but exclusively and only to achieve efficiency in processes in which there are repetitive patterns, that does not require explicit human intervention, but in no case for more complex disputes in which the involvement of the mediator cannot be replaced by a machine.
In personal meetings with representatives of ADR organizations from Finland and Spain, Ms. Nasalevska got acquainted with the reasons and motivation of traders in these countries to become members of ADR entities. In both countries, it is a matter of prestige for a trading company to resolve disputes with its dissatisfied customers through ADR. This strengthens the trust between companies and consumers. In Finland, the Blacklist method is also used, in which companies that systematically refuse to respond to consumer invitations to resolve disputes are published on the organization's website.
Finally, the event was closed with a statement by European Commissioner Didier Reynders, who answered a number of topical questions, that ADR helps retailers and consumers to improve their relationships and build and rebuild trust between them. By the end of 2022, the European Commission will gather opinions and consult with member states on how to improve ADR regulation and how to update Directive 2013/11 / EU. All stakeholders are to be consulted on how the EU ODR platform can be made more user-friendly, more frequently visited and used by traders and consumers. An increasingly important topic is to raise the awareness of small and medium enterprises about the benefits of ADR. Alternative dispute resolution gives the best results in cases with a small value of interest around and below EUR 100, which is exactly the field of SMEs. For disputes over EUR 1000, the possibility of a collective action will be worked on, especially on a cross-border scale. Also, a solid trend is that ADR entities in the EU are turning to digital technologies to increase the accessibility of the service. Didier Reynders expressed particular satisfaction and enthusiasm for the discussion on the use of artificial intelligence in the field of ADR, for the balanced approach to the topic that was proposed in the discussion. The current ADR Assembly is not the end of the process, but the beginning of a path for development that will develop the opportunities for creating and strengthening trust between consumers and traders.
Follow the News section of nais.bg for the latest in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) between traders and consumers.