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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 92440 Find in a Library
Title: Major Findings of the Milwaukee Consumer Dispute Study (From Consumer Dispute Resolution - Exploring the Alternatives, P 145-208, Larry Ray and Deborah Smolover, ed. - See NCJ-91236)
Author(s): J Ladinsky
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 63
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Assoc
Washington, DC 20036
Sale Source: American Bar Assoc
Special Cmtte on Resolution of Minor Disputes
1800 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper describes the community-based conceptual framework for dispute processing that guided a Milwaukee study designed to survey the full sweep of the consumer disputing process; major findings from the first consumer survey test the adequacy of the conceptual framework for understanding the processing of consumer problems.
Abstract: Consumer behavior in bringing claims and raising disputes must be seen in the context of attachment to community and integration into networks of family, friendship, neighborhood, and work. If Milwaukee is typical of other American cities, the findings reported here suggest that for consumer problems, neighborhood and community attachment and the social networks that compose them do not play major roles for most urban residents, contrary to the conceptual framework hypothesized. This is because for most urban residents, the areas in which they live hold no strong attachments for them. Still, most consumers do manage to mobilize both informal and formal resources for practical adaptations to everyday problems. The Milwaukee study reveals that consumer problems are handled in a manner similar to most other circumstances that pose no immediate crisis for households. In search of solutions to consumer problems, citizens tend to bypass the informal social networks and most of the formal community organizations, including the formal dispute forums. The contemporary urban dweller appears to be a specialized, informal brokerage shopper in attempting to deal with problems. Consumers use informal brokerage networks instrumentally and in proportion to perceived needs for assistance. As problems persist in spite of efforts to resolve them, the use of specialists over generalists increases, but specialists are consulted informally. Formal brokers are rarely invoked as third parties directly for disputing purposes. Tabular data, figures, notes, and 50 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Consumer protection; Dispute processing; Wisconsin
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