Exploring online consumer mediation in Catalonia: Principles and technological uses

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This work aims at recognising a leading role for online mediation as a method of consumer redress. Currently, mediation is set up as the previous phase of a binding and institutional arbitration system (the Consumer Arbitration Scheme) that is already in place in Spain. However, the White Book on Mediation in Catalonia shows that consumer mediation services are more widespread than consumer arbitration services. It also shows that mediation services have a high percentage of success, and companies prefer consensual, non-binding mechanisms. Today, consumer mediation has sufficient practical and conceptual independence from arbitration and therefore it is recommended that a consumer mediation scheme should be fostered. Thus, this article analyses what principles should guide such a regime, specifically in the online environment. The Consumer Code in Catalonia sets up some principles of consumer mediation. This article analyses the principles of impartiality, confidentiality, of voluntary participation and universality. Moreover, it explores whether other principles recognised at the European level may be taken into account, such as the principles of transparency, fairness and effectiveness. Furthermore, this article discusses interoperability and information security. This work also deals with current technological uses by consumer mediation providers and explores how technology may enhance those processes. © Oxford University Press 2012; all rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-146
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Information Technology
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2012


  • Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)
  • Online consumer mediation
  • Principles of the process
  • Spanish Consumer Arbitration Scheme
  • Technological uses


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