Semester: 2013 Spring

Students: Daniel Dykes & Xin Liu

Founded in 2011, Modria is a leading online dispute resolution services and technology company in the field of eCommerce and online payments. Modria believes that online dispute resolution (ODR) is the future of justice. It aims to change the way the world resolves disputes and leads the development of justice systems for the 21st century.

Modria has assembled a team of legal experts and technologist to build the Fairness Engine for the Internet. It provides companies and agencies of any size with a scalable and transparent cloud-based platform to diagnose and resolve online disputes. Modria’s experts created the technology used by eBay and PayPal that has solved more than 400 million cases. The company is privately funded and based in San Jose, CA.

Modria is partnering with HNMCP for a second project, this time to focus on the development of online consumer arbitration. The project will examine how best to create a software that provides all the elements required by law while being both fair and affordable for end users.

When a 2011 Supreme Court decision effectively struck down the California ban on class action waivers, arbitration scholars and commentators expressed their concern for the rights of consumers and employees. Since this landmark decision, many major corporations dealing with large customer bases (e.g., eBay, PayPal, etc.) have inserted mandatory pre-dispute and binding arbitration clauses in their consumer contracts. However, the cost structure of these processes makes it unrealistic for any consumer with low-value disputes to file a case against these companies. One of the only realistic solutions is the development of low-cost online consumer arbitration.

Our Work

  • Develop a structured questionnaire and conduct interviews with stakeholders, including consumer group representatives, businesses, federal consumer protection agencies, and eCommerce merchants.
  • Identify primary areas of concern as well as assess the needs of various stakeholder groups and the features required by a pilot program to address those needs.
  • Look at existing ODR systems globally for best practice.

Deliverables envisioned:

  • Report of high-level recommendations for overall dispute system design for online consumer arbitration system, focusing on a set of minimum acceptable features necessary to get the system running in the fall, with an explanation as to how this design addresses the needs and objectives identified during the research phase.
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