What is Online Dispute resolution?
The ODR platform has been developed by the European Commission and is a requirement of the Regulations for Consumer Disputes. The platform is an online tool that will allow consumers to make a complaint against a trader where goods or services have been bought online. The complaint that is submitted by the consumer will be dealt with by an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider.
What are the traders obligations?
All online traders who sell goods or services to consumers must provide consumers with the following information:
- a link on their website to the ODR platform, irrespective of whether they currently market their products or services to consumers in other member states
- an email address on their website so that consumers have a first point of contact. This could be the email address of an individual or a shared mailbox that has been set up to deal with the complaints.
What is the link to the ODR platform?
How does a consumer make a complaint against an online trader?
Consumers should first try to resolve the dispute directly with the trader. If this fails then the consumer can submit their complaint via the electronic complaint form
on the ODR platform. When this is completed the ODR platform will send the details of the complaint to the trader.
What happens next?
The trader has 10 days to state if they are obliged by a trade membership or statute to use a particular ADR provider to assist in resolving the complaint. If there is no obligation on the trader they can decide in this inital 10 day period if they would like to offer the choice of ADR provider to assist in resolving the complaint.
The trader has provided me a list of ADR providers who can assist in resolving the complaint. What now?
If you agree to one of the ADR bodies suggested by the trader then you can confirm this on the platform. Your complaint details get sent to the ADR provider for consideration. If you do not agree on the choices then you have the chance to provide a suitable alternative to the trader. Unless both parties can agree on an ADR provider the case will be closed within 30 days of the initial submission to the platform.
What to do if you need help.
Within the platform you will have the chance to make contact with the ODR contact Point. This is a designated body in your country who deals with providing support with the platform.
Process for ODR submission