Manage a dispute caused by delivery issues

in the online shipping industry between an online seller and a customer



By Marion Beghain

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France




The online business permit to the world to buy a product from a country and be delivered in another one. However, a dispute between an owner and contractor in this area frequently happens caused by delivery issues. A dispute in this area comes from a claim of the customer generally. This issue can impact the performance and the image of the company. Moreover, resolve a dispute can take time, and it’s expensive. In this paper, by using different documents, we discover nine feasible alternatives to resolve a dispute. Combing with eight relevant criteria, we identify that prevention is the best solution to avoid a reduce the effect of a dispute. Following that, thanks to the additive weighting technique, negotiation is the second-best solution. These two different alternatives assembled would be the most efficient way to solve a dispute with effectiveness.

Keywords:       Consumer Dispute, Online Transactions, Online Shipping, E-commerce, Complaint, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), Prevention, Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration, Negotiation


Each day, the technological advance pushes the world to be in a perpetual evolution. A new way of business is born thanks to the technology in 1979. Michael Aldrich invented the online transactions. Few years after that, Amazon and eBay opened they first e-commerce website in 1995.[1] Nowadays a consumer can buy whatever he wants online from a seller. It can be an electronic device, clothes, books… anything he wishes. In 2017, the global market of e-commerce represented 1 800 billion euros. The activity has continued to explode and has grown its business by 17% compared to 2016[2].

However, the seller and the buyer are not the only two actors. It’s important to notice that a third part appeared, the transport company. In the online sales industry, a single project is to sell a good online to a consumer and engaged a transport company who will transport the product from a point A to a point B (the consumer) without any damaged and deliver it on time. The transport and the conditions have been agreed between the seller and the transport company. The transport company has a specific schedule to respect, some deliverables, a budget and quality constraint. On the program level, we can talk about multi-project program in this sector[3]. An online sales company need to manage all his deliveries around the world, coordinated them to save costs, time and to respect all the deliveries dates requested by the buyers. The projects have common traits; the goal is to achieve synergies and to benefit from them. Finally, the portfolio of assets in this business will be first the Information Asset. The buyer has access to online information about the product and after the sale, he can track his delivery. Following that, there are human assets, that the people who prepare the package for example. And finally, there are physical assets like the machines used to transport the goods.

In this business, two types of contracts exist. The first one is the contract made between the seller and the customer. The seller must deliver a good at a precise date or within the time indicated to the consumer[4]. Following that, another contract exists between the seller and the shipping company. The shipping company must deliver a good to a consumer at a special date or within the time indicated by the seller. From this last contract, the seller expects performance in terms of delivery and management of the time from the transport company.

The E-commerce sector is growing every year and many services linked to the online shipping continues to be added and changed. For example, once ordered, a customer can choose to be delivered at home, in a store or a relay point. The price of the delivery will change regarding his choice. Nevertheless, since the creation of this online business, the e-commerce world has seen disputes between sellers and buyers appeared too. Following an online shipping, the buyers can make a complaint regarding one of the services provided by the seller or even the good itself.


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Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Beghain, M. (2019). Manage a dispute caused by delivery issues in the online shipping industry between an online seller and a customer, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IV (May).  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/pmwj81-May2019-Beghain-manage-dispute-in-online-shipping.pdf



About the Author


Marion Beghain

Paris, France




Marion Beghain is an enthusiastic PGE student in SKEMA Business School following the MSc Program and Project Management & Business Development. (PPMBD) She was previously graduated from a Bachelor of Management in 2017 from Toulouse Business School. In 2017, she worked for the company “Wine & Business Club” as a project manager assistant in Paris in the luxury event sector. She also had been involved in few associations at her school like HOPE (Humanitarian Organisation Promoting Equity) by working on a project in Cambodia and Brazil. And in Shoot’In (photography association) by working on the project “Shoot’In Pro”. In 2018, she organized with other students two charity Gala for her school.

She lives in Paris, France and can be contacted at marion.beghain@skema.edu


[1] L’Histoire du E-commerce: un marché en constant évolution. (2017, August 2). Retrieved from https://www.twenga-solutions.com/fr/insights/histoire-e-commerce/

[2] Mazars. (2017). Forte accélération du e-commerce dans le monde, un marché évalué à 1 800 milliards d’euros, en hausse de 17% en 2017. Retrieved from https://www.mazars.fr/Accueil/News/Communiques-de-presse/Etude-E-commerce-risques-et-opportunites-en-2017

[3] GUILD OF PROJECT CONTROLS COMPENDIUM and REFERENCE (CaR) | Project Controls – planning, scheduling, cost management and forensic analysis (Planning Planet). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.planningplanet.com/guild/gpccar/introduction-to-managing-project-controls

[4] Sfez, B., & Deleporte, B. (2014, June 19). E-commerce: les nouvelles obligations légales nécessitant une mise en conformité des sites web. Par Betty Sfez et Bénédicte Deleporte, Avocates. Retrieved from https://www.village-justice.com/articles/commerce-les-nouvelles-obligations,17180.html