On January 9, 2016 the European Commission launched its first online dispute resolution (ODR) platform for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) between consumers and online traders. Following the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy as well as the ADR Directive and the ODR Regulation from 2013, this platform seeks to strengthen the trust of consumers in online trade by making it easier for them to file complaints. Initially, ADR bodies can sign up and get familiar with the platform, before it becomes available for public use on February 15, 2016. The following aspects are important for consumers:
- This online dispute resolution (ODR) platform provides consumers with a convenient tool to express complaints about domestic or cross-border online purchases and to settle contractual disputes with online traders.
- National ADR bodies act as intermediaries or referees between consumers and businesses to resolve complaints without lengthy or costly court proceedings.
- In the future, online traders will be required to provide a link to the ODR platform on their websites.
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, explained the motivation behind the online platform as follows: "One in three consumers experienced a problem when buying online in the past year. But a quarter of these consumers did not complain – mainly because they thought the procedure was too long or they were unlikely to get a solution. The new online platform will save time and money for consumers and traders. I am confident the platform will be widely used to solve consumer grievances.”
Source: European Commission