The European Commission’s Online Dispute Resolution (‘ODR’) platform (at http://ec.europa.eu/odr ) will become accessible to consumers and traders on 15 February 2016. The service should allow consumers and traders to resolve their disputes in an efficient way without resorting to court.
A web-based platform, it is designed to help consumers who have bought products or services online and subsequently have a problem with that online purchase. The consumer will submit a complaint to the platform which will be transmitted to an alternative dispute resolution body to help find a solution.
Traders should take advice regarding the interpretation of EU Regulation No. 524/2013 and related regulations (e.g. Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Amendment) Regulations 2015). You are likely to be caught by the regulation if you “offer goods or services on a website or by other electronic means”. While the provisions of a website may not be an offer, an email attaching a terms letter might be an offer “by other electronic means”.
To comply with the regulations, the following minimum information must be provided on a website:
a. a link to the ODR platform: http://ec.europa.eu/odr and
b. the email address of the online trader
For specific advice and assistance regarding the ODR platform and alternative dispute resolution generally please do not hesitate to contact us.
The contents of this post are for information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or assistance.