15 Feb European Online Dispute Resolution Platform
Online traders are now required to put a link to the European Commission’s website on their own site, together with a contact email address.
This is to inform consumers about the Online Dispute Resolution Platform that’s available to help resolve issues out-of-court.
Alternative and Online Dispute Resolution (ADR/ODR)
When consumers have a problem with a trader regarding a product or service they bought, they can now settle their dispute out-of-court through an Alternative Dispute Resolution or Online Dispute Resolution (ADR / ODR) procedure.
As such procedures are an alternative to resolving disputes before a court they are called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). When they are carried out online, they are called Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).
Resolving disputes through ADR/ODR, in general, is easier, faster and less expensive than resolving disputes before a court.
In the European Union, ADR/ODR procedures can take different forms and they can have different names e.g. arbitration, mediation, ombudsmen, complaints boards.
The European Commission have established a European Online Dispute Resolution platform (ODR platform). The ODR platform is a web-based platform that is specifically designed to help consumers who have bought goods or services online and subsequently have a problem with that online purchase. It allows consumers to submit their contractual dispute and conduct the ADR procedure online and in any of the 23 official languages of the European Union. The ODR platform transmits disputes only to ADR bodies who are included in the national lists of ADR bodies that comply with the binding quality requirements established by the ADR Directive.
The link to the ODR platform is: http://ec.europa.eu/odr
What should you do now?
As a business, you are required to do the following:
- You must inform consumers of the existence of the ODR platform
- Every online trader must display a link to the ODR on its website (in a logical place)
- You must also include a link to the ODR in any offer made to the consumer by email
- You must clearly display the complaints handler’s details on the website including name and email address.
- You must add the ODR platform information to your standard terms and conditions
Are there any penalties for non-compliance?
In simple terms, YES.
Failure to comply can result in Trading Standards applying for a court order; requiring an organisation or service to comply. If this order is not obeyed, a maximum penalty is an unlimited fine and two years in prison.
For further information on the Online Dispute Resolution and how it affects businesses and services, please visit:
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us to discuss these changes and how we can help you.