This paper evaluates the current legal framework of the communications market within the European Union and concludes that despite efforts to strengthen consumer protection within a B2C dispute context, there is still a gap between conferred rights and guarantees and the ability to effectively exercise them. The paper proposes the creation of a system, holistic in its approach, to bridge that gap and improve access to justice. The proposed orientation requires a reorganisation of roles and the active participation of all market stakeholders, including consumers. Though not technologically innovative, the mapped system’s intended contribution is its articulation with the market and its responsiveness to consumers. Being conducive to binding and enforceable decisions, this alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system aims at establishing structural and procedural safeguards that ward due process, impartiality and rule of law while benefiting from the swiftness and lessened formality of traditional ADR. Information and communications technology plays a key part in enhancing those benefits even further. Finally some considerations concerning an eventual harmonisation of ADR in a B2C European communications context and its benefits are made. Consequently a suggestion for a collaborative network between equivalent ADR Bodies on a national level and, for instance, BEREC or the European Consumers Centres Network is presented. ADR Bodies, such as the one proposed, and complaint-management agencies are concluded to be ever closer to a role of forefront of the justice system, carrying out an essential role in dispute prevention.
Keywords: ADR, dispute prevention, ICT, access to justice, consumer protection, B2C disputes, ADR harmonisation, customer satisfaction.