EC launches online platform for disputes between consumers & traders

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EC launches online platform for disputes between consumers & tradersThe European Commission launches a new platform for alternative dispute resolution between consumers and online traders.

The EC has now opened its new online dispute resolution (ODR) platform to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies.

The platform will allow consumers and traders to settle their online disputes at the click of a mouse, both for domestic and cross-border purchases, without the need to go through lengthy and costly court proceedings.

One month after the Commission proposed modern digital contract rules to simplify and promote access to digital content and online sales across the EU, it said that this online platform will also strengthen trust in online purchases and thereby make an important contribution to the EU's Digital Single Market strategy.

When consumers and traders lodge a complaint, the dispute resolution bodies will act as a referee between the two parties to resolve the issue.

The platform is open to alternative dispute resolution bodies to sign up and familiarise themselves with the platform before it is opened for use by consumers and traders on the 15th of February 2016.

Member States had to notify these bodies by the 9th of January. Online traders will be obliged to provide a link to the ODR Platform on their websites.

Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said, "one in three consumers experienced a problem when buying online in the past year. But a quarter of these consumers did not complain – mainly because they thought the procedure was too long or they were unlikely to get a solution. The new online platform will save time and money for consumers and traders. I am confident the platform will be widely used to solve consumer grievances."

More information about ADR and ODR is available here. The online platform will be accessible here from the 15th of February.

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