The European Commission launched on 15 February a new platform that allows consumers and traders to solve online disputes over a purchase made online.
Basically, the disputes concerning purchases made on the Internet by a citizen from his own country and from abroad, will be submitted to the dispute settlement bodies registered on the Online Dispute Resolution platform (“ODR”), called alternative dispute resolution entity (“ADR”).
Alternative dispute resolution bodies will be established by each Member State, and they will need to meet certain quality requirements binding under EU law.
The access to these alternative methods will be provided regardless of the nature of the goods or services that were purchased whether online or offline, and regardless from where the purchase was made – of the Member State of the trader, or of the consumer or from another country.
The platform will be user-friendly and will be available online on all devices and will include a translation service, being multilingual.
The citizen who will choose the alternative dispute resolution will benefit from a more rapid and inexpensive way of solving disputes, because the duration of a dispute will last an average of 90 days.
This method of solving the disputes, does not exclude the classic procedure initiated in courts, which can often prove difficult, lengthy and expensive.
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “Most consumers experiencing problems when buying online don’t complain, as they believe the procedure is too long and that it won’t be solved. The Online Dispute Resolution platform is an innovative tool saving time and money for consumers and traders. It will improve consumer trust when shopping online and support businesses selling cross border, contributing to Europe’s Digital Single Market.”
It is intended that in the near future the platform will cover completely all Member States and economic sectors, at the moment more than 100 ADR entities are recorded in the Member States.