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Online Dispute Resolution - a New Tool for General Electric

Monday, October, 24, 2011

Online dispute resolution gained another adherent this week when the oil and gas division of General Electric, Co. began testing a new dispute resolution system that will depend heavily on the internet.  The goal of the move is to help the company reduce the amount of money spent on lawyers, but the company also believes the move will help managers and employees also save valuable time as they resolve disputes.


Online Dispute Resolution to be Required for Small Disputes


General Electric is now insisting that its suppliers, which number in the thousands, agree to use online dispute resolution to overcome disputes regarded as simple, but at this time, the experiment is mainly focused in Italy as the company tests it to determine if it can be applied on a large scale.  Disputes subject to the cyber settlement requirement are those in which the amount being argued about is smaller than 50,000 Euros.  At current exchange rates, that sum represents approximately $65,000.


According to general counsel Kenneth S. Resnick, "We get a large number of claims that are simply about money and they can take up a lot of attorney time and costs.  This allows a cheap—and, most important, fast—way of solving them."


Already, 15 claims have been settled using the online dispute resolution process, which uses blind bidding as a methodology to help the parties come to a business mediation agreement.