Josep Suquet-Capdevila of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Institute of Law and Technology has published Mobile Technology and Consumer Empowerment: An Application for Online Consumer Mediation in Catalonia (Geoconsum), European Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2012.
Here is the abstract:
Today, courts proceedings remain complex and expensive for consumers. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) are means of consumer redress. Nevertheless, they have not achieved its full potential, partly due to the lack of consumer awareness. Currently, there are different legislative initiatives at the EU level devoted to improving consumer empowerment as well as, more particularly, ADR and ODR. Moreover, Information technology (IT) devices such as smartphones are improving consumers’ access to information and they may contribute to empowering consumers and giving them better access to justice. Further to this contextual framework, this article presents Geoconsum [click here for code on GitHub], an open source mobile application that contains a database on consumer mediation entities and a compendium of consumer legislation applicable in Catalonia. In the near future, this application may be integrated with an online mediation platform. This article shows the databases’ methodology and implementing process. Furthermore, it shows the mobile application functionalities and the search and retrieval capabilities, based on parameterised searches as well as on geolocation technology. The device also works as a mapping service application since it offers a route planner to access the nearest consumer mediation entity.