Selling online into the EU? New obligation to link to dispute resolution platform
A European Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform has been put in place by the European Commission from 9 January 2016. The Platform is intended to be used by online shops and consumers for settling their disputes. The ODR Platform aims to provide a simpler, faster, more efficient and cheaper solution for the settlement of cross-border consumer disputes in the European Union.
The ODR Platform has been operational since 9 January 2016. It is accessible to both consumers and traders on 15 February 2016 here.
Some quick facts:
- The ODR Platform is an interactive and multilingual platform specifically designed for assisting consumers who have a complaint about goods or services they have bought online.
- Consumers or traders, when agreeing to ODR, must complete an electronic complaint form, made available on the ODR Platform.
- The parties then decide which ADR entity shall be competent to settle their contractual dispute. The ADR entities are bodies that comply with the binding quality requirements established by the ADR Directive and which are included in the national lists of ADR bodies.
- The selected ADR entity shall handle the case entirely online and reaches an outcome within 90 days. The legal value of the decision of the ADR entity will depend on the form of ADR chosen (mediation, arbitration, conciliation, etc).
What do I need to do as an online trader?
As a trader engaging in online sales or service contracts with consumers and established within the European Union you will have to inform consumers about the existence of the ODR Platform as well as the possibility of using the ODR Platform for resolving your disputes.
More specifically, keep the following requirement in mind:
- You must provide on your website(s) an electronic link to the ODR Platform and your own e-mail address. That link must be easily accessible for consumers.
- If you make commercial offers to consumers via e-mail, similar information should be included in the e-mail.
- The information shall also be provided in the general terms and conditions applicable to online sales and service contracts.