ODR (online dispute resolution) platform has opened on 15 February 2016. More information here.
The possibility of resolving trade transaction disputes without judicial proceedings was introduced to the Finnish consumer protection system decades ago, in the 1970s. Elsewhere in Europe such systems are rare, and most consumer disputes are still taken to court.
Court proceedings are expensive both for the parties concerned and for society at large. Because of this, and so that consumers can confidently make purchases in any country in Europe, many countries have sector-specific dispute resolution procedures generally created by sectoral organisations, available for consumers and enterprises for resolving disputes while retaining the mutual confidence of the parties. It is in the interests of vendors and service providers in particular to resolve disputes by negotiation rather than by a public hearing.
Through the ECC, you can submit your issue to an independent alternative dispute resolution entity (ADR entity) outside the judicial system, in the home country of the vendor. We will find out whether the vendor or service provider is committed to this kind of dispute resolution process and will refer your complaint to the relevant entity.
ADR entities are required to be transparent and neutral and to make decisions based on the law. Most of these systems are free of charge for consumers, and the Member States of the EU have accepted their operating principles.
The network of ADR entities does not yet have very substantial coverage, except for in the Nordic countries. This is about to change, however: under the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive (2013/11/EU), Member States are obliged to set up ADR entities in all areas of consumer trade. The Directive must be implemented no later than July 2015.
For further information on how these ADR entities work, contact us.
ADR entities notified to the European Commission and their contact details.