Live Webinar: Online Arbitration - Monday, October 29th @ 6pm Eastern/5pm Central/10pm GMT

Online Arbitration

Presented by Colin Rule


Online Arbitration with Colin Rule from The Werner Institute on Vimeo.

Last summer, in a case called AT&T v. Concepcion, the Supreme Court struck down a long-standing judge-made rule that arbitration agreements are unenforceable if they are included in standard consumer contracts. This has unleashed a wave of changes in consumer terms and conditions across the United States, as in-house legal teams integrate AT&T v. Concepcion-type language into consumer contracts to better protect corporations against class action lawsuits. Some decry this development as a huge blow against consumer protection, suggesting that binding arbitration can never be fair to consumers. But others see this as a window of opportunity, where streamlined and consumer-favorable arbitration processes can be crafted that better meet the needs of consumers. In this session, we will discuss the current situation, and how online arbitration could be designed to strike the right balance between the competing interests of businesses and consumers. We will demo the latest in online arbitration processes, and talk about potential best practices.


Presenter Bios:

Colin Rule is CEO of, an online dispute resolution provider based in Silicon Valley. He was eBay and PayPal’s first Director of Online Dispute Resolution from 2003 to 2011, and he’s the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business (Jossey-Bass, 2003).













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Hi guys!  Thanks for the great discussion yesterday.  Let me post a few links here so that everyone will have access to the information we shared.

Here's the deck we walked through: (MS powerpoint)

Relevant articles:

Some sample arbitration clauses:











Also, interesting information (and user reaction) on PayPal's new arbitration clause:

Hello everyone, The archive for the Online Arbitration Webinar is all loaded above. Please feel free to continue to the discussion by posting your comments and questions in thid forum. Enjoy!


Thank you for the insightful presentation, Colin. My name is John Matson and I am a student at the Creighton University School of Law. I am currently enrolled in an alternative dispute resolution class. Each member of our class had the opportunity to choose a Cyberweek presentation to research and comment on. I am really glad I chose this Webinar. One part of the presentation in particular grabbed my attention. It seems that corporations would have significant incentives to quickly settle consumer claims (as long as they were for negligible amounts) in most cases. That being said, I can also see that if there was no process to ensure that claims were meritorious, corporations that settled too frequently may be taken advantage of by opportunistic consumers. I liked your idea of tracking the claims of any particular consumer. You suggested that if a given consumer filed complaints more than three times in a given time period against a corporation, the corporation should look more closely at the merits of the complaints being filed. Such a process seems like a great way to decrease the possibility of consumer abuse of the generally consumer-friendly process you are suggesting corporations employ. I wonder if it might be sound policy for a corporation to settle claims up to three times (again, assuming the claims were for negligible amounts) and then "take a closer look" by requiring the consumer to arbitrate their subsequent claims. It would seem to me that if the corporation assumed such a policy, a court may look even more favorably on that corporation's consumer predispute-binding-arbitration clauses and prohibition-of-class-action clauses. Thanks again for the great presentation.

Hello Collin

Many Thanks for the informative presentation. 

I have a Query and  this is something where i every time get stuck when i read about online arbitration  i.e Choice of Law

Is there any possibility, that issue of Choice of law might arise during Online arbitration?

Arbitrator shall resolve the dispute according to the law of which country, if parties are not subject to same law and  when the choice of law is not decided in the arbitration clause?

And is it like Private international law plays the role?

I might sound out of the box, but i really need clarification on this aspect..



ODR has undoubtedly overcome the  jurisdictional issue involved in the cross border transactions.And it is very clear that ODR is not only the best but the only way to resolve Online disputes.

I understand that  the businesses run online through websites e.g E bay  when they use ODR technique and provides Online arbitration for resolving the disputes arisen between the parties irrespective of the location of the customer. And it is understood from the e bay arbitration clause (as in presentation ) that the Choice of law is also decided in the clause itself, therefore in that case chice of law dispute cannot arise.

Great presentation! Off the top of my head I have a few questions/suggestions that might help. Instead of having to physically mail a letter to opt out of the arbitration could we include an section when people agree to terms and conditions that allow them to opt out on the web. A company could also include an area on the website that might include anonymous filings of past arbitrations similar to the feedback system that ebay uses. This might encourage users to trust the arbitration process while still allowing the possibility for class-action law suits if repeat players are abusing the system. I also really like the suggestion of the system that Amazon uses of the 3 lifetime no questions asked refunds that would favor the occasional buyer. I apologize in advance if these were covered in the slides. Thanks for the presentation! 


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