UNCTAD eWeek 2023 | Employing AI for consumer grievance redressal mechanisms in e-commerce (CUTS)

The discussion emphasised the need for a nuanced and balanced approach to harness AI’s potential in consumer service, protection, and dispute resolution. While acknowledging the transformative power of AI, it becomes imperative to navigate challenges, standardize solutions, prioritize inclusivity, and integrate human expertise to ensure fair, efficient, and trustworthy consumer governance in the digital era.

 People, Person, Crowd, Indoors, Adult, Male, Man, Architecture, Building, Classroom, Room, School, Child, Female, Girl, Audience, Woman, Accessories, Bag, Handbag, Lecture, Computer, Electronics, Laptop, Pc, Chair, Furniture, Hall

At the UNCTAD eWeek 2023 session titled ‘Employing AI for consumer grievance redressal mechanisms in e-commerce’, a panel of experts conducted an in-depth examination of Artificial Intelligence’s impact on consumer service, protection, and dispute resolution. Here are the key takeaways:

Enhancing consumer service with AI

Marilia Maciel’s insights shed light on AI’s capability to expedite resolution times and enhance consumer service. The potential for AI to analyse voluminous complaints efficiently, predict and preempt issues before reaching consumers, and allocate resources effectively presents a promising outlook for quick and effective issue resolution. However, Marilia emphasised the necessity for a balanced approach that amalgamates AI with traditional offline methods to accommodate diverse consumer preferences and avoid unsatisfactory experiences stemming from over-reliance on automated systems.


Challenges and solutions in consumer protection

Teresa Moreira focused on challenges in consumer protection, emphasising the need for online dispute resolution platforms and international cooperation. She highlighted consumer mistrust in the online environment, technological concerns, and the absence of standardised solutions. Teresa advocated for regulatory efforts to ensure AI’s responsible utilisation, harmonising standards, and fostering collaboration across borders to strengthen consumer protection measures.

AI’s Evolution in dispute resolution: The Indian approach

Kritika Sethi brought attention to India’s rapid adoption of AI in dispute resolution, particularly through online mechanisms. By leveraging digital infrastructure and AI, India aims to expedite conflict resolution and prevent escalations, demonstrating the transformative potential of technological integration in addressing consumer grievances.

Balancing potential and risks in consumer governance

Ujjwal Kumar highlighted AI’s benefits in revolutionising consumer governance but flagged potential risks. Concerns regarding data privacy, biases, declining priority for consumer-driven businesses, and the digital divide were emphasised. Initiatives in India, like digital public infrastructure and integration of consumer rights literacy modules, strive for inclusive AI implementation while addressing these risks.

Challenges and opportunities in integrating AI for consumer protection

Rashika Narain focused on the evolving capabilities of large language models and the challenges faced in integrating AI for consumer protection. However, integrating AI technology for consumer protection faces challenges due to the absence of standardized solutions. While open networks for digital commerce exist, they often lack consumer protection measures. To address this, state or regulatory bodies should encourage the development of standardized solutions and their integration with AI technology. This will enable effective scaling up of consumer grievances and resolution. Rashika suggested a comprehensive approach, considering technology as a crucial layer in grievance redress, to address consumer disputes effectively.

Stay tuned for just-in-time reporting facilitated by The Digital Watch Observatory’s AI-driven App! Keep this page bookmarked to access comprehensive reports from all special, thematic and high-level sessions. Please note that session summaries will promptly appear on our dedicated page following their conclusion.

Download the Dig.Watch News+ mobile app from Google Play or the App Store to have instant access to our reports on your mobile device.