Strong consumer protection under EU law restricts the use of arbitration for the resolution of consumer disputes. Consumers require a fair, independent, quick and cheap solution to their complaints in the B2C context. Traditional commercial arbitration does not offer a quick and cheap solution, while online arbitration of consumer disputes raises questions about fairness and independence. Moreover, in either context, the requirements of EU law create obstacles to the validity of the arbitration agreement and enforceability of the arbitral award. Faced with this dilemma, various initiatives of the EU have been launched to facilitate out-of-court settlement of B2C disputes. This article explores the EU legislative framework and ECJ jurisprudence, and analyses a number of substantive and procedural challenges to arbitration of B2C disputes, as well as aspects of a variety of dispute resolution methods offered and recommended to solve B2C disputes.
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