Commission launches new platform for alternative dispute resolution between consumers and online traders
On 9 January, the European Commission opens its new online dispute resolution (ODR) platform to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies. The platformwill 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 (press release), 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. From tomorrow, the platform will be open toalternative dispute resolution bodies to sign up and familiarise themselves with the platform before it is opened for use by consumers and traders on 15 February 2016. Member States had to notify these bodies by 9 January. Online traders will be obliged to provide a link to the ODR Platform on their websites. Věra 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".