2 DAYS LEFT UNTIL TNW Conference 2021 – join us in Amsterdam for face-to-face business!

The heart of tech

This article was published on December 30, 2013

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is letting users judge disputes between merchants and customers

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is letting users judge disputes between merchants and customers Image by: AFP/Getty Images
Kaylene Hong
Story by

Kaylene Hong

Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.

E-commerce is not smooth-sailing all the time — there may be arguments between sellers and buyers that can turn ugly, and lead to dissatisfaction with online shopping.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is trying to solve this — as it officially launched a platform for its Taobao Marketplace that lets a panel of users vote on disputes so they can come to a resolution.

Screen shot 2013-12-30 at PM 02.49.03

There are three categories of disputes that Alibaba’s platform currently addresses. They are: cases when a seller is penalized for miscategorization of a product, if a seller defaults on a commitment made such as not shipping within the time specified or not providing free shipping as promised, and lastly transactional disputes.

The dispute platform has been in beta for about one year, and an Alibaba spokeswoman says that more than 820,000 members have registered to be panelists — made up of 480,000 buyers and 330,000 sellers. For the past one year, these panelists have reviewed more than 340,000 dispute cases. Each case is voted on by 31 panelists.

Of course, the disputes could probably be solved by Taobao’s units, but the platform gives rise to more transparency, Alibaba notes.

As e-commerce starts to sink its roots deeper into mainstream shopping, the trustworthiness and reliability of transactions and goods becomes even more important. By taking a first step into adopting the concept of a more autonomous court-like setting for judging disputes, Alibaba could be on to something that may be useful for the e-commerce world in general — even out of China.

Headline image via Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images