Spurred to find ways to protect consumers as online shopping grows, the 30 countries belonging to the international economic and social-development group Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) announced Monday an accord on dispute resolution.
After two years of wrangling over the policy document, the Paris-based OECD said its 30 members — which include the European countries, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom among others — have signed off on a legal framework intended to lead to better policing and resolution of consumer complaints, particularly in cross-border disputes involving e-commerce.
But it remains unclear whether concrete change will come from the policy agreement, which the OECD countries now must find a way to put into effect.
Called the “OECD Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress,” the 13-page document states principles that include:
“The recommendation contains a series of points that should be addressed,” notes Peter Avery, principal administrator in the Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry at the OECD. “Some may already have been dealt with by some countries, other points might be dealt with quite quickly, while other points may take more time.” In many cases, problems can be resolved directly by the parties concerned, without resort to dispute resolution, he said.
In approving the accord, the OECD countries agreed to seek ways to put the principles into action among themselves, as well as inviting non-member counties to consider the dispute-resolution policy document.
The OECD’s Committee on Consumer Policy is expected to monitor the progress to around the accord and report to the OECD’s Council within five years.