Euro e-tailers required to follow Online Dispute Resolution rules

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Those selling online in Europe will now have to include reference to a new Online Dispute Resolution platform following an EU ruling designed to assist consumers in resolving disputes with traders.

Online since February, the ruling come as part of the EU’s Digital Single Market strategy and means online sellers will now be required to notify consumers of the ODR’s existence. The retailer will not be obliged to sign up to the scheme, or country specific alternatives, simply to inform buyers it exists.

Both retailers and consumers have the right to issue a complaint against each other. Difficult customer? Click here.

“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,” said the EU Commission.

“The internet and digital technologies are transforming our world. But existing barriers online mean citizens miss out on goods and services, internet companies and start-ups have their horizons limited, and businesses and governments cannot fully benefit from digital tools. It’s time to make the EU’s single market fit for the digital age – tearing down regulatory walls and moving from 28 national markets to a single one. This could contribute €415 billion per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.”

On receipt of a complaint, the resolution bodies will assume the role of referee to resolve the issues.

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”.

Online retailers should now include this link on their websites: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/odr/main/index.cfm?event=main.home.chooseLanguage