19 July 2016
The European Commission opened an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) website for consumers and businesses on 15 February 2016. Consumers can refer disputes related to the online acquisition of goods or services from a seller in another EU Member State to the ODR website. The service operates in all official EU languages, enabling consumers to handle the matter in their own language even if the other party speaks another language.
Consumers should first make a complaint to the company that sold the goods or services. If the company responds but the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the consumer can refer the matter to the ODR website. If the parties are still unable to reach an agreement when the company responds through the website, the consumer can forward the matter to an out-of-court body for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
The ODR forum can only be used if the company in question consents to having the matter solved through an ADR procedure, by an out-of-court dispute resolution body.
The Online Dispute Resolution website offers a new means of resolving disputes related to cross-border trade. However, it does not prevent a case from being taken to court. A court procedure is often slower and more expensive, while Alternative Dispute Resolution is fast and inexpensive. An out-of-court body resolves disputes in a maximum of 90 days. The website is easy to use and accessible on computers and mobile devices.
Finland's ORD contact point for matters related to cross-border trade is the European Consumer Centre. If you would like to learn more about the ODR forum, contact us.
Information about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) within the EU
The ODR website
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