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ADR and ODR in the EU today

There are over 750 ADR schemes in the EU today. They work differently and have different names e.g. arbitration, mediation, ombudsmen, complaints boards. In some countries, they only cover specific consumer disputes e.g. for financial services, energy supply, transport. In a few others, ADR covers all consumer disputes. Some offer the entire process online [i.e. Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)].

ADR schemes can be established by public authorities, industry or in cooperation between the public sector, industry and consumer organisations. Funding may be private, public or a combination of both. In most EU countries, ADR is national rather than decentralised at regional or local level. Procedures are based on the parties' willingness to engage in the process. Most schemes are free for consumers or below €50, and are settled within 90 days on average. ADR decisions may be taken collegially e.g. by boards or by individuals - a mediator or ombudsman. The nature of these decisions ranges from non-binding recommendations, to decisions binding on the trader only or on both parties, and agreement of the parties.

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