Kourkoumelis & Partners News New EU online and alternative dispute resolution rules to be introduced
New EU online and alternative dispute resolution rules to be introduced
13/06/2013 09:35

Online traders will be able to resolve contractual disputes with consumers based in other EU countries through a new online dispute resolution (ODR) framework after MEPs voted to back the new regime in March 2013. The European Parliament approved a new ODR Regulation and a new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Directive. The European Commission has said the new regime will allow disputes over online transactions to be settled faster and at less cost than through the courts. The Commission initially proposed the new ODR and ADR rules in late 2011. “The new ODR Regulation will enable the European Commission to establish a new 'online platform' through which consumers could submit complaints about contracts with businesses. The platform is to be linked to national ADR schemes which would ultimately seek to resolve disputes. Consumers who encounter a problem with an online purchase will be able to submit a complaint online through the ODR platform, in the language of their choice, the Commission said in a statement. The ODR platform will notify the trader that a complaint is lodged against him. The consumer and the trader will then agree on which ADR entity to use to solve their dispute. When they agree, the chosen ADR entity will receive the details of the dispute via the ODR platform. The ODR platform will be connected to the national ADR entities set up and notified to the Commission, in line with the new rules of the ADR Directive. The platform will help speed up the resolution of the dispute by allowing ADR entities to conduct the proceedings online and through electronic means," as said.

“A set of common rules will govern the functioning of the ODR platform. These will include the role of national contact points acting as ODR advisors in their respective countries. Their task will be to provide general information on consumer rights and redress in relation to online purchases, assist with the submission of complaints and facilitate communication between the parties and the competent ADR entity through the ODR platform. For this purpose, ODR advisors will also be linked electronically to the platform," the Commission added.All consumer contract disputes, excluding those in the health and education sectors, will be able to be resolved through the new framework.