Chinese ‘People’s Courts’ Resolve Internet Disputes in Tech Firms


Colin Rule, the founder of the eBay system, says the company has filed a lawsuit in India about a decade ago. The pilot program did not work out, but it is said that the demonstration of the system in Hong Kong attracted Alibaba’s attention, and probably helped to strengthen what was probably a major online trial program.

In 2012, Alibaba Taobao shopping center was launched type of “circle of people”-informed on the User Dispute Resolution Center platform – to deal with customer complaints of malicious or copyright infringement as well as complaints that the user has been unfairly punished by the platform. A court of 31 unpaid volunteers – buyers and sellers who have used the site for at least three months and whose names have been verified – ruled in favor of the majority of votes.

Alibaba claims that Taobao no longer uses the machine in user disputes, and its customer service department handles those complaints. But the same program continues in the stock market, Xianyu. Unknown 17 users look at the inconsistency, say, if the seller correctly described the expiration of the used wallet. The system resolves 95 percent of customer disputes, according to a study published by Alibaba last year.

Customers in Chinese markets often pay using digital wallets, which do not have the purchasing power that credit card companies offer. Instead, Alibaba’s ecommerce site – like most in all of Asia – depends on the type of escrow: Buyers pay in the market, and the money is simply released to the seller once they have received a satisfactory receipt.

“This is a way to create a sales pitch where you don’t need consumer protection, because the buyer is the one who controls the whole process,” says Rule, a former eBay executive. When retailers open stores in Taobao, they have to provide cash, which can be used to reimburse customers. Vendors must abide by the terms and conditions of their dispute in order to continue using the platform, but may appeal to the courts or seek redress in a state court.

In 2018, a chat program with Tencent activities WeChat initiated a process of peer pressure section, a habit of translating recklessly as “washing the head” —just gradually changing the wording to your own, a habit that violates platform rules, if not the law. Someone who believes that their work was copied may complain, pointing to things like design similarity or repeating words from the title. Both sides are submissive their disputes, and volunteers, who have creative skills on WeChat, count them. If at least 70 percent of the group believes the fraud took place, the story is removed and replaced with a piece by the original author.

Until recently, large companies were free to develop the system, often with permission from the authorities, says Lior of Georgetown. Internet services were critical to China’s economic growth, and regulators may be slow to innovate because of their preferences and controversies.

But now, “human counsel is running out,” he says. The world of ecommerce law, which went into effect in 2019, requires companies to respond promptly to consumer complaints and hold them accountable for fraudulent products sold on their platforms.



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