Resolving complaints out of court

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) means settling a complaint out of court with the assistance of an impartial dispute resolution body. Resolving consumer disputes this way is easier, faster and less expensive than going to court.

There are many types of ADR, such as

  • mediation
  • conciliation
  • ombudsmen
  • arbitration
  • complaints boards

Out of court resolution bodies by country

A large number of out of court bodies exist across the EU. Using one of these bodies, you can access ADR for most types of product or service (complaints about healthcare or higher education are not dealt with by these bodies).

It doesn't matter whether you bought the product or service online or in a shop, or whether the trader is based in your country or another EU country.

On the online dispute resolution platform, you can find a list of out of court dispute resolution bodies by country.

Complaints about online purchases

If your dispute relates to an online purchase, the online dispute resolution (ODR) platform allows you to submit a complaint online to an ADR body in any language and in any EU country.

Usually, the process happens entirely online, takes about 90 days folllowing the choice of ADR body, and is provided for free or for a nominal charge.